Friday, 31 July 2020

CPRW Playlist: July 2020

CPRW Playlist: Here's what Brett, Chris, Dan, Dan#2, Emma, Lee, Marcus, Omar, Richard, Robyn and myself have been listening to in July.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Album Review: We Are All We've Got by Milpool

Milpool are a punk rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the beginning of April the band released a brand new five track EP on Lemon Tree Records titled We Are All We’ve Got. I stumbled across it one evening whilst looking for new bands on Bandcamp and quickly became a fan of the band.

The EP begins with It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This. This opening track really sets the scene of what to expect from Milpool – melodic, shout-along punk rock with big choruses and lots of hooks. It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This starts out with a guitar riff that not only starts the EP with a lot of energy but builds wonderfully to the vocals. Vocally, Milpool fit somewhere between pop punk and hardcore and it works really well with the tone they’re trying to set. The track is about looking back on old times and wondering how you ended up where you are now. Sitcommunist is a more political song that takes aim at the super rich who don’t help the people that really need it. The line that really stuck out when I listened to the song was “all we’ve got is us and that’s all we need.” Sadly there’s a massive divide in the classes in the entire world and this needs to change. The song is played at a slower tempo than the opener and feels much more passionate and angry. Given the song’s subject, rightly so.

The Perils Of Self Betterment is a more personal song. On the track, the band’s lead singer talks about remembering an old friend and working on bettering yourself in their honour. I really enjoyed the positivity that comes from the track, particularly the chorus of “This world isn't prepared, for what we have in store, we aren't just a family, but so much more.” The penultimate track is titled Bummer Vacation. As you might guess from the song’s title, it’s a pretty sad song about feeling like you don’t belong somewhere. That’s something that I’m sure most of us have felt at some stage or another. The song’s highlight is undoubtedly the fantastic ending with the repetitive chorus and the harmony giving the track a brilliant extra dimension. Last up is Good Game, Let’s Go Eat. Finishing the EP on a positive and inspiring note, this track is about learning from your experiences and becoming a better person because of it. Bringing the tempo back up, Milpool shout out their message in a way that just can’t be ignored. The use of two vocalists is great, adding extra energy to the track and, in the final moments, the repetitive lines of “So I said to myself, be a better man than yesterday” will be ringing in your ears long after the song finishes. A great way to finish the EP.

What I really liked about Milpool was how fresh they feel. I don’t listen to much on the heavier side of punk rock but I really got into We Are All We’ve Got. The energy is infectious and there’s a great deal to either relate to or to inspire you. That’s great song writing.

Stream and download We Are All We've Got on Bandcamp here.

Like Milpool on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Album Review: Split by 7 Years Bad Luck & Dorkatron

I’ve been on a bit of a roll for reviewing splits lately. After two ska punk reviews, here is one for some Austrian pop punk. I’ve been a fan of 7 Years Bad Luck for a number of years and have been lucky enough to see them live a couple of times in the last year or so. Dorkatron are a newer band who I fell in love with immediately after hearing their The Extra Mile EP in 2018. 7 Years Bad Luck and Dorkatron recently teamed up for a twelve song split which was released by Monster Zero Records.

Dorkatron kick of their half of the split with the song Robotic Love. Robotic Love is a weird love story between a human and a robot. If you’re new to Dorkatron then this is a great introduction. The band plays fast and catchy Ramonescore pop punk, very often with a nerdy sci-fi theme. Up next is Custodians. Inspired by a solo from a Fidlar song, the track is about feeling uneasy about custodians. Fast, catchy and fun with witty lyrics, Dorkatron have a style and they absolutely excel at it. I really like the guitar riff in the song, it gives the track a great energy. Shop Class Baby is a story about falling in love with a girl in your shop class. Another theme of Dorkatron’s is high school and often falling in love with different girls. I’m glad to see they haven’t stepped away from this theme on the split. It’s a relatable topic for fans of pop punk.

Hall Monitor sees Dorkatron actually slow things down a little. It’s a pop punk ballad dedicated to the people who care about safe and respectful behaviour at school. It’s great to hear the band slow things down and show a different side of their songwriting. The chorus is the standout moment and features some great chant-along harmonies that will get the listener invested straight away. My Girl is a thirty second song where Dorkatron proclaim that a girl is theirs. It’s short and sweet, really repetitive and a whole lot of fun. The final Dorkatron track is titled Pills. Starting in explosive fashion, Pills actually sees a more mid-tempo and melodic side of Dorkatron. It also feels more serious as the band sing about becoming reliant on medication to help you stay awake to study, because you don’t have enough time, and then regretting taking it. It’s quite a sombre finish to Dorkatron’s side of the split.

7 Years Bad Luck begin their half of the split with Comatose. The three piece play a more melodic style of punk rock than their counterparts in Dorkatron but that doesn’t mean it’s any less catchy. This half of the split already feels a lot more dramatic and emotional thanks to the builds spread throughout the song as well as some great gang vocals. Up next is Out. Starting out with a crunching introduction before some fantastic fast paced vocals, this song has a slight feel of the 90s skate punk sound to it. The song is a more political one about wanting to question decisions and realising that, no matter how hard you fight, it will always feel like an uphill battle. You, The Ocean And Me shows the poppy side of 7 Years Bad Luck and also has a bit of 60s rock ’n’ roll sprinkled in. It’s the sort of song that instantly cheers you up and has you bopping along in your seat. This is a sweet, summery love song about needing your loved one around and missing them when they’re not there.

Better Joke is a song dedicated to that friend who likes to play the joker but often takes it too far. This song has the more traditional 7 Years Bad Luck sound, melodic pop punk that brilliantly pulls you in. There’s a seriousness about the track and also a sadness in the vocals that plays with your heartstrings somewhat. The penultimate song on the split is titled Milk Teeth. Jumping back into the skate punk style, there is a driving tempo that gives the song plenty of urgency. It has you yearning to know where the song is heading. I think this is mainly due to the drumming. The beat really stands out on this track. There’s an understated style to the vocals. They feel a little quiet and this makes you really listen hard, as well making you anticipate something louder coming in. The split is finished with Movie Star. This feels like a final song. By that I mean that there’s a sense that 7 Years Bad Luck put everything they have into the song. It sounds bigger, it’s full of hooks, it has shifts in tempo and it’ll have you singing along happily from start to finish. There’s also some subtle “whoa-oh” harmonies to get involved with.

This is a fantastic split by two of Europe’s best pop punk bands. As you would expect from a Monster Zero release, it’s quality from start to finish and, if you’re not familiar with either of these bands, it’s a great place to start before checking out their previous work.

Stream and download the split on Bandcamp here.

Like 7 Years Bad Luck on Facebook here and like Dorkatron here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Album Review: Straight To VHS by Abandon The Midwest

We first featured Orlando’s Abandon The Midwest in 2018 when we reviewed Rides Again. We’re so happy to have them back on CPRW again with their excellent new EP, Straight To VHS. With all that’s going on in the world currently I missed that they even had a new EP coming out so, when I saw it, I was pleasantly surprised and it went straight to my review list.

Straight To VHS begins with Bright Lights. On my first listen, I’m instantly reminded of what it was about Abandon The Midwest that I fell in love with in the first place. The band has wonderful dual vocals from BJ and Matt, BJ singing in a clean pop style and Matt with a gruff and gravelly tone. The two styles work so well together. This adds so much energy to their sound and I get swept away with it everytime. Bright Lights is about realising that you’re not living your life the right way and looking for a way to improve things. On the second song, Mistreat Yourself, Matt takes lead vocal duties for himself. This is a more mid tempo track that you will lose your voice shouting along too. From the opening lines of “you’re afraid you won’t amount to anything” you will be involved in the song. It follows a similar theme to Bright Eyes, realising you’re not looking after yourself and shutting yourself away. The only thing I have left to say about this song is that it’s easily one of my favourites of the 2020.

You Don’t Want Me Around begins slowly before becoming another great big fun sing-along. It’s got a pop melody that’ll get stuck in your head quickly and it won’t be long before you’re singing along with the band. I was a bit surprised that Abandon The Midwest didn’t use this song as the lead single for the EP as it’s so wonderfully accessible and a great example of what to expect from the band. Straight To VHS is completed with the song Skyline. The track has more of a Ramonescore feel to the song, albeit with gruffer vocals. The buzzing guitars and simple drum beat that drives the song forward is great. The chorus is where the song really shines, Matt’s vocals take the lead but are brilliantly harmonised with by BJ. This extra layer adds a lot to the sound. I’m always a big fan of this kind of thing when I’m listening to music. Skyline is about returning to the same place over and over again because it’s a really good place. There is something great about having a place you can always go to and knowing you’re going to have a good time.

In short, Straight To VHS is four brilliant songs that you need to listen to. It’s a fun EP for singing along to with your friends. What more could you possibly want?
popping up, proving that the genre is still alive and kicking.

Stream and download Straight To VHS on Bandcamp here.

Like Abandon The Midwest on Facebook here.

This review was written Colin Clark.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Album Review: Get Your Retaliation In First by 3dBs Down

There’s a good chance that despite being a fixture of the punk and ska scene in the early 2000s, you’ve never heard of 3dBs Down. Between 2001 and 2007 the band toured the UK regularly alongside putting out two albums and an EP. Then they decided to take thirteen years off, only playing shows once or twice a year. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch them a couple of times in the past two or three years and have always been so impressed with them, playing their own brand of ska punk with crunching riffs and harmonies that the Beach Boys would be envious of. Paul Smith of Be Sharp fame has told me on many occasions that they are the best band ever – and who am I to argue with Paul? Now the time has come for 3dBs Down to release their first album in thirteen years. Titled Get Your Retaliation In First, this should be an album to release a fantastic band to a whole new generation of fans as well as giving a warm nostalgic feeling to old ones.

The album begins with At My Signal. Starting with an audio clip stating that men can’t show feelings, 3dBS Down then proceed to play a song about being there for your friends. The duelling guitars that are playing at the beginning of the song really build things up before the lead vocals come in. Lead singer Matt’s soaring vocals sound as good as ever as he takes us through the song. As the song progresses, we get our first crunching breakdown on the album that takes us towards the first display of 3dBs Down’s amazing harmonies. A great introduction for new fans and a welcome back for the old schoolers. Moussaka showcases the ska side of 3dBs Down’s sound. The band will have you skanking immediately on this track that really takes you on a series of highs and lows. There’s so much going on in the song, you’ll listen to it 100 times and still hear something new that you’ll love. Amazingly, despite the song being a hive of activity, it never feels too busy which is impressive songwriting. The gang vocals and harmonies at the end of the song – INCREDIBLE! The third song is titled Count To A Million. The opening two songs had more of a fun feeling around them but this shows a more serious side of the band. From the outset there is a high octane feeling to the song that is about the frustrations towards the selfish “all for one, one for me” culture that has clearly engulfed the country. The back and forth style delivery between gang vocals and Matt singing on his own sounds brilliant and adds plenty of energy to the song.

Up next is Sharpen Your Pitchforks. This song asks the question of “what makes you better?” to people who are very quick to judge. The track actually begins in quite a sombre fashion which caught me slightly off guard (in a good way) but the song does soon build up. Matt’s vocals are wonderful for helping the song grow towards its highest points and I can’t wait to sing along with the song live. Everyone Here Is Better Than You is a mid tempo punk rock sing-along and anthem-like song. The stop-start introduction will get your head banging in no time at all. The vocal harmonies throughout the opening of the song continue to give you the urge to head bang. 3dBs Down really use their ability to deliver these wonderful harmonies to such good effect, it’s like having a fifth instrument. I think they need to do some acapella songs. Idiot Ignorant Evil is a more chilled out reggae number for the most part. You’ve probably realised by now that 3dBS Down can’t just stick to one style in a song. The song has such a summer vibe to it you can imagine sitting in your garden, enjoying a cold drink and having a joyous bop to this song. The track is about being nice to people and having faith in human decency. I loved the positivity that pours out of the song, it put such a smile on my face as I danced around the living room.

The seventh song is titled Pink Cardigan Twinset. One of the more straightforward punk rock songs on Get Your Retaliation First, the track would fit perfectly on all of your skate punk playlists. On this song, 3dBs Down tackle the culture of putting on a front to try and get ahead in life and how it’s a temporary solution. Up next is a short song named Well that seems to be more of an interlude than anything else. It’s a softer song that serves as an introduction to the ninth song, Flat Out. Flat Out (which is appearing on our next CPRW Records compilation) shows off a heavier and more eerie side of 3dBs Down. It’s a positive song about constantly learning and evolving to continue to move forward. Midway through the track we get a breakdown that has a sample of Well that leads us towards a crunching, epic finale that will sweep you away. Hang In There Man is a track that the band have been playing live in recent years. Whenever I’ve seen them play it, it’s got me so excited for the band to release this album. It jumps back into the ska punk style and those superb upstrokes that make you want to dance with all the joy in the world flowing through your body. Hang In There Man is about looking out for your mental health and trying to find positives. I feel like I could say this about every song on this album but, oh my, the harmonies are so bloody good.

I was so sad that Greatest Day wasn’t a Take That cover. It is however a very good ska punk song about being positive about the future with the stand out line being “tomorrow could be the single greatest day of my life.” The theme of being positive pops up a few times of the album and it’s a refreshing change from the current trend of bands singing about how sad they are. I have to admit, the song’s finale is slightly poppy and cheesy but my goodness it had me grinning from ear to ear and singing along. The penultimate track on Get Your Retaliation In First is titled Institution. This is a chilled out reggae/dub track that will have you swaying along. This is a more political song that looks at fighting back when you’re feeling oppressed and not letting the institution win. This slower style adds so much power to this song as it has you really listening to the lyrics deeply. It’s a quite stunning vocal delivery that can’t be ignored. The thirteenth and final song is Light On A Dark Day. This, if you can believe it, is an eight minute long ska punk song. I thought Just Say Nay were the only band silly enough to attempt such a mental idea! Clearly I was wrong. 3dBs Down manage to squeeze a lot into a standard length song so just imagine what they’re able to do with eight minutes. There’s so much going on here, I don’t really feel like I can do it justice to even try and review it properly. Be safe in the knowledge that there’s big riffs, ska upstrokes, sing-alongs, harmonies, skankable moments, it’s full of positivity and it’s bloody brilliant.

In short, this album really was worth the thirteen year wait. Go and listen and if you’re unfamiliar with 3dBs Down’s back catalogue, go and educate yourselves. I hope that the release of this album means that the band will be playing more live shows in the future. Welcome back!

Stream and download lead single, Count To A Million, on Bandcamp here. Get Your Retaliation In First will be released on 31st July.

Like 3dBs Down on Facebook here.

This review was written Colin Clark.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Top Tens: Emma’s Ten Favourite Not-So-Music-Based Podcasts

Last week I shared ten music-based podcasts that I have been enjoying during lockdown – check that out here if you are interested. Those alone are not really a true representation of my podcast listening habits however as I actually listen to quite a lot of others that are not music themed, let alone punk themed.

About Race With Reni Eddo-Lodge
Reni Eddo-Lodge is the author of Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, a book that is even more of an essential read now than it was when it was first published in 2017. The nine episode podcast series, which was released in 2018, takes this important conversation a step further. Reni is joined by key voices in anti-racist activism to discuss recent history and today’s politics surrounding race. I would say this is essential listening for anyone but especially if you are white.

Listen on Spotify here.

Abroad In Japan
This is a podcast that I stumbled across while browsing the ‘culture’ category of podcasts on Spotify – other podcast platforms are available but Spotify works for me. I recognised the logo for ‘Abroad In Japan’ as being a YouTube channel, by filmmaker Chris Broad, that I made much use of when I was off work after having had my wisdom teeth removed. Being a bit of a Japanophile this kept me thoroughly entertained so discovering that there’s podcasts as well – and a lot of them too – was great. They release two new ones per week!

Listen on Spotify here.

The Bearded Vegans
This is probably my favourite of this list although I appreciate that if you’re not a vegan it might not be of interest to you personally – it’s my list though, so y’know. Bearded vegan hosts Paul and Andy discuss all things – you guessed it – vegan in this podcast, from topical news stories, activism, events, reviews and interviews. The very latest two episodes are an in-depth look at ‘Thug Kitchen’ who have profited from cultural appropriation for nearly a decade. Each episode is very well researched, informative and thought-provoking. Also, if you stick around until the very end, they sometimes have a bloopers section.

Listen on Spotify here.

The Disruptive Environmentalist
This is an oldie but a goodie in terms of when I first started listening to this podcast. Sometime last summer, during one of the UK’s ‘heatwaves’, I started to properly take notice of and, well, worry about climate change and the environment in general. It lead to me making some changes in my life – including becoming vegan – and educating myself further. The Disruptive Environmentalist is about seeking new solutions to big environmental problems – it’s an optimistic look at what innovators across the world are doing to combat climate change. There haven’t been any new episodes this year but the back catalogue is great.

Listen on Spotify here.

This is the second Japanese themed podcast on my list – well, sort of. Ghibliotheque is about the films of Japan’s greatest animation studio, Studio Ghibli. In this podcast series, hosts Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham, who both work within the UK’s film media industries, discuss a film per episode. Michael is a big fan of Studio Ghibli and has seen all of the films but Jake had only seen a couple when the series was first born so it’s interesting to hear both opinions as they watch or re-watch each film. I’ve not quite seen all of the Ghibli films yet so I have had to skip over some episodes for now – I don’t want spoilers!

Listen on Spotify here.

Marvel’s Wolverine
Time for something a little different! There are a lot of great fiction podcasts out there – I guess it’s kind of like listening to an audiobook but with added drama and sound effects. I was instantly hooked on Marvel’s Wolverine series as soon as I heard the first episode of season one and proceeded to get through to the end of season two in just a few days. This is not a cheery superhero tale, Marvel’s Wolverine is dark and gritty with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you attentive. The first season in particular was really, really good.

Listen on Spotify here.

Off Menu
Like food? Like comedy? This could be the podcast for you! Off Menu is hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster – who actually each have their own music-themed podcasts as well (James’ was featured in last week’s post). Each episode they are joined by a special guest, often a fellow comedian, who talks through their dream meal – starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink, alongside other amusing anecdotes. Series four has just started which features Romesh Ranganathan (a vegan, woo!) in the first episode and was very, very funny.

Listen on Spotify here.

Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Lockdown Parenting Hell
From one comedy duo to another – this is a podcast that, as you can probably tell from its title, was born during lockdown. It’s also a podcast that despite not being able to relate to its theme, Colin and I have thoroughly enjoyed having a chuckle to. Sure, we might not be parents but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to listen to funny tales of other people’s parenting woes during lockdown. Kids are funny, especially when they have no relation to you. Of course if you are a parent, however, you’ll no doubt enjoy this even more than us.

Listen on Spotify here.

I suppose Superbeast could have appeared in last week’s list as Blake and Burg do discuss and play punk, indie and pop music in this podcast but they also talk about current affairs, environmental issues, film and TV shows and, of course more recently, lockdown life. Compared to the others on this list, this is a smaller scale podcast with much less ‘budget’ than Marvel or YouTubers but I think that’s a big reason why I enjoy it so much. It’s two people having a friendly and interesting conversation, often discussing things they are each passionate about.

Listen on Spotify here.

Voyage To The Stars
Lastly we have an improvised sci-fi comedy podcast, from Colton Dunn, Felicia Day, Janet Varney and Steve Berg, that follows the misadventures of a group of outcasts who find themselves on a spaceship together before being sucked through a wormhole. They travel around from planet to planet, meeting new alien species and trying to find out how to make it back to Earth. This is the first podcast I listened to that really wasn’t educational in the slightest, it’s just a lot of fun. Just a warning – sometimes it gets a bit NSFW but it’s always entertaining and is a great distraction during lockdown, for sure.

Listen on Spotify here.

Colin would also like to give a shout out to Quack Attack, a Mighty Ducks themed podcast, which he was very excited to discover during lockdown – although I don’t share his enthusiasm!

How about you? What podcasts are you listening to at the moment?

This top ten was written by Emma Prew.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Album Review: K.A. Music by The Chinkees

I think one of the biggest surprises for me this year (musically) was when The Chinkees released their first new music in eighteen years on June 5th. The band, who are fronted by Mike Park of Asian Man Records and bands such as Skankin Pickle, The Bruce Lee Band and most recently Ogikubo Station, are cult favourites from the 90s ska punk boom. Known for their political ska punk sound, The Chinkees aimed to directly look at racism and how apparent it was then and still is now. Mike Park has gotten back together with Steve Choi (also of RX Bandits) to release K.A. Music on Asian Man Records.

Trace The Morning Time opens up K.A. Music. The first time I listened to the song, I had a big smile on my face. The Chinkees are back and sounding as good as ever. Playing their stripped back ska style, with the keys really taking centre stage throughout the song, the track takes you back twenty years and will have you skanking like you did before you had old man knees. The song is about finding a middle ground with people and working together rather than fighting against each other. Our Lips Are Coming Right Through is up next and ramps the energy right up. The introduction alone had me wanting to dance round my living room. When Park’s vocals come in, the song goes towards more of a two-tone style before the song jumps into a big punk rock chorus. It’s, of course, brilliantly catchy and will have you singing-along in no time at all.

Running All Alone is perhaps my favourite song on K.A. Music. The track starts slowly with a dub/reggae sound before a high octane guitar comes in and we’re treated to a thrilling punk rock finale. The two styles are quite contrasting and the way the first half builds towards the second is quite wonderful. Sadly it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to see any of these songs played live but I imagine this one would be a hell of a lot of fun! The EP finishes with Your Heart Will Break Forever. On my first listen the thing I really took away from the song was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the chorus. It’s a great big ear worm that you will be singing to yourself for days after hearing it. The track plays around with its tempo and melody which helps keep it interesting and keeps you listening eagerly throughout. I feel like this is the type of song that I could listen to again and again and I’ll keep hearing different things. That’s if I’m not too busy dancing along anyway.

K.A. Music is a excellent addition to The Chinkees discography. Like I said, this is their first new material in eighteen years and it does not disappoint. I’m sure there are a lot of ska punk fans who aren’t old enough to have heard of The Chinkees and hopefully this EP will serve as a stepping stone to going back and checking out their wonderful back catalogue. I believe Mike Park has already said that The Chinkees won’t be touring these songs but fingers crossed for some one off shows. Fingers crossed super tight for some one off shows in the UK.

Stream and download K.A. Music on Bandcamp here.

This review was written Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Album Review: Dread by Hot Knife

Brooklyn, New York’s Hot Knife came together when bass player Vic Castello and guitarist Ryan Weber were at a bar talking about how they wanted to start a new band. It so happened that Vic, new vocalist Luke Taylor and Ryan knew a drummer named Matt Ferraro (Candy Hearts) and Hot Knife was born. It can be that easy. This was in 2015 and since then they have released a single and two EPs. Their latest EP is titled Dread and was released in April 2020 on Black Numbers Records. In case you haven’t realised yet, that’s what we’re reviewing today.

Dread begins with the song Rude. If this is your first time listening to Hot Knife, like it was mine, then you’ll be greeted with a punk rock style that is verging on skate punk. I’m slightly reminded of Pennywise here, particularly in the vocals. It’s a mid tempo track with the verses providing the song’s energy and drive and the chorus being the moment that will get a crowd singing along – fists held high in the air. A solid start to the EP and a great introduction to Hot Knife. The second song it titled Space Weapons. On this track, Hot Knife mellow out slightly with a poppier sounding song. Luke’s vocal becomes softer showing a vulnerability to Hot Knife as he sings about his anxieties. This makes the song really relatable for anyone going through similar issues. During the track, there’s a great section that seems to show a big Descendents/ALL influence that I really enjoyed.

Track three, Top 10 Habits Of Highly Successful People, was released as a single before Dread came out. It is about how people who are seen as been higher up in society very often look down on people who aren’t as successful as they are. Perhaps inspired by Lookout Records era pop punk, Hot Knife show off another string to their bow here. The penultimate song is titled Rippin Buds, Rippin Buds. Things get a bit harder and more intense here. It’s only a short song with a snappy, pounding background. After the intro, I kind of expected it to go into a fast paced hardcore song but the band show a great amount of restraint and keep it reigned in. The final song, First Street, sees Hot Knife return to the pop punk style that they do so well. It’s a super accessible, kind of easy listening style that even people who – for some reason – aren’t fans of punk would enjoy. There’s a bit of a sombreness to the vocals, particularly in the verse. The chorus seems to get a bit more upbeat which will encourage listeners to sing along.

I discovered Hot Knife and Dread thanks to Bandcamp day a few weeks ago and I’m very pleased that I did. It’s a bit of throwback to a style I really enjoy but doesn’t feel dated at all. Given the names involved with this band, it’s no surprise that this is a really good band and I look forward to seeing what’s next for them.

Stream and download Dread on Bandcamp here.

Like Hot Knife on Facebook here.

This review was written Colin Clark.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Video Premiere: Bazook Blaze by Trophy Jump

Today we are super excited to bring you the first look at our friends Trophy Jump's new video for the song Bazooka Blaze. The track originally appears on the bands split with afewyearslater and can also be found on CPRW Records Supports Music Venue Trust. The video for Bazooka Blaze was put together by Martin Bajsić.

Like Trophy Jump on Facebook here and follow them on Bandcamp here.

Album Review: 42 Losers by Melanie

It’s always nice to discover bands from parts of the world that aren’t your first thoughts when looking for punk rock. I’m not familiar with the New Zealand punk scene at all so it was a great surprise when I discovered Melanie whilst trawling through Bandcamp Discover. The four piece are from Auckland and formed after playing “shitty pop punk covers” at a house party. On May 1st they released their debut album titled 42 Losers. After previewing it a little, I was very impressed and couldn’t wait to hear more.

42 Losers begins with Hollywood. After quite a long jangly, distortion filled intro, it builds up to James Dentice’s raw vocals opening up the song. Those vocals were a really startling way to begin the album and had me interested to see where it would go. As the track progresses, the vocals get a bit cleaner but there are flashes of intensity that keep you invested. Playing their own take on the Midwestern emo/punk sound, this opening track really shows you what Melanie are all about. I loved the energy that the second song, Collide, brought to the table immediately. The track begins with some high tempo vocals and a subtle guitar part, that it slowly joined by some drums and then the whole band before we get to the main portion of the song. Things are slowed down slightly after this attention grabbing start. From then on, I found myself captivated by the song and particularly the structure of the vocal delivery. There’s this fantastic melody that you can’t help but want to follow along. The song then ends with a long and grungey finale. The third track sees Melanie change things up with a happier and sunshine filled song name Dead Starlet. The highlight of the track is undoubtedly the chorus which you will be singing along with very soon. Even though the song sounds quite happy, obviously with this being an emo band it isn’t. Dead Starlet is about not having enough time with someone who you cared deeply for and struggling to deal with that.

Year Six Speeches is probably my favourite track on 42 Losers. It has a long and impressive intro with Joe Gasparich’s drums really standing out before things get a little quiet and the vocals come in with a bang. At this point, I’m a bit in love with James’ rawer vocal style and how he can so effortless flit between the raw and clean style. This is an insanely catchy song that will lodge itself in your head pretty quickly. Try not singing along to this track, it’s very hard. The middle section of 42 Losers contains two songs that are nearly five minutes in length. The first is Bill’s Riff which I’m guessing is named after the impressive bass line that William Dentice plays throughout the song. This is a slower song that rumbles along and features some longer musical interludes. This all adds to the ride that Melanie take you on during the track. The song is about being on the verge of a mental breakdown and trying to get help to calm you down. As the song progresses, the vocals become more intense which creates some great imagery for the level of the breakdown. Kachow! begins with a short audio clip of a somebody asking for a “fro-co” which is a frozen coke. I have literally no idea what this has to do with the song but I did find it amusing. Kachow! really allows Melanie to show off what an impressive group of musicians they are as it’s mostly instrumental. There are two short verses during the song but it’s really a vehicle to show how talented they are.

The seventh song is No Shoes. No Shoes was used as the lead single for 42 Losers and it’s clear to see why. It’s an uptempo song that you can jump and dance around to as well as a track that will get stuck in your head. It’s also super relatable as it’s about dealing with the anxieties about growing up. The band also made a lockdown video for the track which you can find here. Triple Knot is up next. Perhaps more so than any other song on 42 Losers, Triple Knot plays around with tempo and melody a lot during the track and this makes it a very interesting listen. At times, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going and not don’t know what’s going to happen next. The unpredictable nature of the song plays in with the overall theme of self doubt that plays out during the track. The penultimate song is titled Half To Death. Half To Death is a completely instrumental track that’s eerie and atmospheric, takes you on a series of highs and lows and it generally an epic listen. 42 Losers is finished with Maude St. I did a little Google and discovered Maude Street is an actual place in Auckland so I can only assume that this song is based on true events. This track sees Melanie amp the tempo back up to conclude the album with an energetic flourish. Except that’s what you’re thinking until things slow right back down for the ending of the song and it just fades out. It very much feels like a ‘to be continued’.

Emo/punk isn’t usually my go to when I’m picking something to listen to but I can see myself going back to 42 Losers again and again. Melanie could be considered one of the bright new bands in the emo scene. If they were based in the northern hemisphere I could see them on the same line ups as bands such as The Menzingers, Spanish Love Songs and Joyce Manor and other top bands in the genre. Hopefully one day, they’ll find their way to this part of the world and we can enjoy what I can only imagine is an exciting Melanie live show.

Stream and download 42 Losers on Bandcamp here.

Like Melanie on Facebook here.

This review was written Colin Clark.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Video Premiere: Large Island Iced Tea by Swayze

Today we are immensely proud to bring you the first looked at the new video for Large Island Iced Tea from Canadian punks Swayze. Large Island Iced Tea is the third track from Swayze's 2020 EP St. Angry. The music video was directed, filmed and edited by Swayze's friend Jason Hamill and features Skylar of THE FAPS in multiple roles, most of which include him throwing garbage at the band.

St. Angry is available on all streaming platforms and available for purchase on Swayze's Bandcamp page.

St. Angry is the newest EP from Saskatchewan-based dad punk band Swayze. St. Angry sees the band bring together elements of melodic hardcore, punk rock and pop to form a set of five aggressive, yet melodic, tunes. Lyrically, the band are as dismal as ever, using the EP as a means of catharsis for the members’ feelings of depression, anxiety and self-hatred.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Top Tens: Ten Music-Based Podcasts For Your Lockdown Listening (by Emma Prew)

I am really into listening to podcasts at the moment. In fact, in the last week I have listened to barely any music but have enjoyed hours and hours of podcasts. I’m an editorial designer – currently working from home – and podcasts are great to listen to whilst typestyling or laying out pages of a book. (I do have to pause when it comes to reading and replying to emails or for video meetings, of course.) Podcasts keep me amused, entertained and educated on a daily basis and, I think particularly due to being in a room by myself for most of the day, they also help me to feel less isolated.

This is going to be a two-part series – first looking at music-based podcasts and then I’ll share some of my favourite non-music podcasts next week.

101 Part Time Jobs

Hosted by Giles Bidder of Dangers Of Love (and formerly Great Cynics) fame, this podcast features interviews with both established and independent artists. As you can probably guess from the title of this pod, 101 Part Time Jobs focuses on the jobs that people have done off stage in order to support their musical career on the side. It definitely shows another side of being in a band that music fans don’t really consider. The recent episode with Jamie from Aerial Salad is very, very good.

Listen on Spotify here.

Angry Grrrl Music Of The Indie Rock Persuasion

This podcast, hosted by Amanda Starling, is centred on women, LGBTQIA+ and people of colour within punk rock and indie music. Each episode of Angry Grrrl Music Of The Indie Rock Persuasion is around an hour long and tends to feature a discussion with a particular musician. It’s in depth but also feels like a relaxed conversation between friends. Episodes over the past couple of months have featured Bad Moves, Pity Party, Mint Green and Worriers. Also be sure to check out @angrygrrrlmusic on Twitter.

Listen on Spotify here.

Dammit Presents: A(nother) Podcast

One good thing to come from COVID-19 and lockdown has been brand new podcasts. Phil Morton, Glasgow-based promoter behind Dammit Presents, released the first episode of A(nother) Podcast with Graham and Sean of Goodbye Blue Monday in April which was a lot of fun. The latest episode, number five, is a conversation with Rich and Phoebe from Happy Accidents discussing their new album Sprawling. Also, there’s a punk cat as the podcast’s logo so…

Listen on Spotify here.

Desert Island Punks

A CPRW favourite, Desert Island Punks is a podcast hosted by Jake McAllister of Sunliner. Each episode sees Jake ask a particular punk which five albums, one book and one ‘luxury’ item they would take to a hypothetical desert island. Obviously the desert island discs concept isn’t a new one but it’s interesting to hear what punk musicians have to say on the subject – often their album choices aren’t typical ‘punk’ either. It’s worth checking out episode 20 where Jake’s sister Ellie asks Jake about his own list, as well as episodes with Kay of Specialist Subject Records and Emmett of Pkew Pkew Pkew.

Listen on Spotify here.

Going Off Track

Originally started way back in 2012 by Jonah Bayer, Steven Smith and producer Brad Worrell, Going Off Track is a weekly podcast that is currently hosted by Benny Horowitz of The Gaslight Anthem alongside Worrell. I cannot claim to have listened to even a fraction of the Going Off Track back catalogue but would recommend the episodes recorded and released during lockdown as being top listens. Episode 310 with Jeff Rosenstock is the first of these lockdown episodes and they discuss the initial realisation that COVID-19 was (and is) a big deal.

Listen on Spotify here.

James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds

This is the least ‘punk rock’ podcast on this list but it’s James Acaster and love James Acaster. In case you don’t know, he is a comedian who has recently documented his 2017 mental health ‘breakdown’ and the 2016 albums that helped him to get better in the form of a book – Perfect Sound Whatever (yes, that is a Jeff Rosenstock reference). The podcast features one of these albums per episode and James is joined by fellow comedians to discuss the album. It’s great to hear how passionate he is about music, regardless of genre.

Listen on Spotify here.

Road To The Skeleton Coast

If you’re a big fan of The Lawrence Arms then you’ll probably be hyped for their forthcoming album, Skeleton Coast. In preparation for the release, Brendan Kelly has been sitting down with Tim Crisp to talk about the records that came before it. And that’s not limited to The Lawrence Arms – three recent episodes were all about Slapstick. These are not quick listens as almost all episodes are well over 2 hours long but if you’re a big fan of Brendon Kelly then Road To The Skeleton Coast is essential listening.

Listen on Spotify here.

Shout Louder Podcast

You probably know Shout Louder as being an excellent punk rock blog but did you know that they have some thoroughly entertaining podcasts up on Soundcloud as well? The podcast is, of course, hosted by Shout Louder mastermind and our good pal Sarah. Since 2018, she’s been in conversation with, among many others, Faintest Idea, A Wilhelm Scream, Goodbye Blue Monday and Eat Defeat, as well as doing several festival special episodes. There’s only been a couple of new episodes this year but the back catalogue is well worth delving into.

Listen on Soundcloud here.

Talking Records

This is a relatively new one for me as it was actually Colin who was recently listening to this podcast – but I was in the room and paid attention too. Talking Records is hosted by Jed Dion and features a selection of re-occurring guests who join Jed to talk in great detail about a particular album. They talk about the history and context of the album and analyse it track by track. The episode we listened to was about Operation Ivy’s Energy with special guest Mike Park of Asian Man Records.

Listen on Spotify here.

The Wasting Time Podcast

Like Desert Island Punks, The Wasting Time Podcast is a CPRW favourite. Hosted by Chris and Nick, this podcast features interviews with a variety of musicians in the alternative music world, particularly those that fall into the pop punk sub-genre. Each episode usually starts with Chris and Nick discussing new releases that they’ve been enjoying or any gigs that they’ve recently been to (not so relevant for lockdown episodes), before they interview their guest. Personally I enjoyed the episode with Craig Shay of Cold Wrecks from January this year and past episodes – note: plural – with Burnt Tapes have been great.

Listen on Spotify here.

Bonus: Since I initially wrote this top ten a couple of weeks ago, those wonderful folks at Specialist Subject Records have launched a new podcast of their own. Titled Flick Through, they released their second episode yesterday and I’ll most likely be checking it out today.

Listen on Spotify here.

Do you have any favourite music-based podcasts yourself that I’ve not mentioned and should check out? Let us know!

This top ten was written by Emma Prew.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Album Review: Oppositional Defiance by The Raging Nathans

The last time we reviewed The Raging Nathans on CPRW was their 2018 album Cheap Fame. Since then, they’re released splits with Dead Bars, Starter Jackets, Parasites and Jon Cougar Concentration Camp as well as compilation of all of their 7”. Not a band that like to rest, now they are getting ready to release a brand new full length titled Oppositional Defiance on Rad Girlfriend Records (USA) and Brassneck Records (UK), on 24th July. One of the hardest working and most prolific pop punk bands in the scene, when this arrived in my inbox I was very excited to check it out.

The album starts with Tragedy Ghouls: An Introduction. As you should have guessed, this is an introduction for the album. Layered over the top of a pop punk song, there are audio clips of news pieces talking about gun violence. It’s a startling but powerful way to start the album and really makes you think. Following this, the album begins properly with the song One Day Closer. This is a fast paced and frantic song that hooked me in immediately. The song manages to keep its tempo throughout and remains super engaging for the whole duration as well. Despite the tempo, it’s still super catchy and will receive some huge sing-alongs – assuming people are fit enough to keep up with the vocals. The song is about being angry with your place in life and not being able to change that. The chorus is one that I’m sure is relatable for a lot of people, “every day I’m alive I’m one day closer to death.” Where Ya Been? has a throwback 90s sound to it and is definitely a song for the summer. There’s an upbeat breeziness to the song that put a smile on my face. On the track, The Raging Nathans sing about getting reacquainted with an old friend and seeing a change in them. I’m sure that we’ve all experienced that. When looking over the track list before I listened to Oppositional Defiance, the next track, Don’t Miss The Train, stood out to me. I wondered if it was a No Use For A Name cover. It’s not. It is however a smashing track that shows off a more restrained Raging Nathans. The wings are mostly clipped with everything feeling sharper and to the point on the track. It’s about looking back on the things you did when you were younger and deciding it’s best to leave them there.

Parole Violation sees The Raging Nathans go down a different route. Turning everything up to eleven, including their anger – this is a full speed hardcore song and I love it. It’s full of passion and energy and will certainly get a circle pit going whenever they play it live. The track really allows Christian Roerig to show off just how good he is as a bass player with some great rumbling basslines pushing the song forward. The sixth song is titled Signals. Reverting back to the band’s more traditional pop punk sound, Signals is about the frustration of not being able to read people and feeling bad about it. There’s such a slickness to the song. It feels like a lot of time has been spent crafting these songs so they’re perfect. The backing harmonies in particular are a superb touch on the song. It’s a subtle extra layer that brings a lot to the track. Outside wastes no time in getting started. During the track, lead singer Josh Goldman sings about feeling ostracised and asks if you know what that’s like, as well as wanting to find a way of fitting back in. There’s a definite 90s skate punk feel to the song, particularly No Use For A Name who always edged towards the poppier side of skate punk. Up next is You Are Not Me. This was one of my favourite tracks on Oppositional Defiance. It’s about those people who always have a better story than you and look to one up everyone. What The Raging Nathans are saying is that those people are jealous of what you’ve achieved by yourself. The song has a great barroom sing-along feel to it; arms wrapped around your friends, fists in the air shouting as loudly as you can – a great time!

The ninth song is titled Big Mouth. Big Mouth certainly has a feel of The Copyrights about it with the buzzsaw like guitars and big gang vocal chorus. There is an in your face nature to the song that fits the song’s theme perfectly. It’s about, like the chorus states, having a big mouth and not being able to shut up. This is such a catchy chorus that you will be singing for days after listening to the song. Stargazing is about missing your loved ones, perhaps due to being away on tour. This is one of the poppiest songs on the album, showing off a softer side of the band. The song is quite a simple and repetitive one that you will latch on to quickly – this really made it stand out on my first listen of the album. I enjoyed the irony of the harmony during the line “so alone”. The penultimate track on the album is titled Old Blood. Old Blood really brings the pace back up. Opening with some rapid fire vocals and an uptempo melody, it gives the album an adrenaline shot just as it begins to finish. Musically it’s relentless from start to finish with the vocals supplying most of the melody. Oppositional Defiance is finished with Spoiled Brat which originally appeared on their split with Parasites. Making sure to finish the album with a bit of a flurry, the song has quite a long intro that builds into some of the most passionate vocals on the album. The song is about not appreciating what you have and what you’ve done and then realising that that is a stupid thing to be doing.

Oppositional Defiance is another superb addition to The Raging Nathans discography. It could be, in fact, their best release so far. It is definitely one of the best pop punk records of 2020.

Pre-order Oppositional Defiance on Bandcamp here.

Like The Raging Nathans on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Album Review: Facing Reality by Stuck Lucky and Still Alive

Today I’m excited to review a skacore split brought to you by the fantastic folk from Bad Time Records and featuring Nashville’s Stuck Lucky and Still Alive from Chicago. The split came to my attention because it was released by Bad Time Records and I’ve featured Still Alive a number of times before. This was my first exposure to Stuck Lucky though (the beauty of a split release) and I was excited to find a new favourite band.

Stuck Lucky take on the first side of the split with the song Spells And Tails. This was my first experience of Stuck Lucky and I was instantly impressed. The band starts the song by quickly building things up, with each instrument coming in adding something different to the sound. When the vocals come in I’m kind of reminded of Sweeney Todd who sang for The Dead Pets and Everybody Out (that might be a niche reference). Kind of an intense street punk style is the best way of describing it. The song also features plenty of gang vocals and harmonies and the band manage to give the song a spooky an ominous feel. It feels as if Stuck Lucky have their own unique style and I’m into it. Close 2 Hell is a twenty six second noise track that, if I’m honest, I’m not really sure of the point of. Father Mercy gets things back on track though. The tempo seems a bit slower but the vocals feel much more intense and really pull you into the song. I was surprised to learn that Stuck Lucky only have one brass player, the trombone sounds massive and adds so much to the song. Stuck Lucky’s third song is titled Like A Possum. This is a very trombone heavy song and is perhaps my favourite on this half of the split. The trombone will get you dancing whilst the fantastic amount of gang vocals will get you shouting along with the band with your fist held firmly to the sky. Stuck Lucky’s final track is probably the most traditional sounding skacore track on their side of the split. For the first time they use two vocalists trading off lines. This is something I always enjoy. It keeps the song sounding fresh and adds plenty of energy. It also features some superb harmonies that I’m always such a sucker for.

Still Alive kick off their half of the split with Razor Blades. The song starts off quietly before exploding into life. Still Alive certainly lean heavily on the hardcore side of the skacore genre in their music and this is evident immediately, though they do implement little bits of ska and reggae during the track. The song is politically themed, tackling the subject of why do we do what are leaders tell us to when we know they are corrupt. I really liked the line “how can we rise with our feet in cement.” 24 Hours begins with an audio clip of running water before a heavy bass line begins to build up the song. Here, Still Alive show off their reggae influence for the majority of the song before it builds into the more hardcore side of their sound. It’s interesting that the band manage to blend two genres that aren’t natural bedfellows so easily. Switchblade Architect is a five minute long post-hardcore song. The song begins in a relentless fashion, with Still Alive melting your face off. As the track progresses, they add some melody and a fantastic guitar solo with another dash of reggae before finishing as relentlessly as they began. If you want a song that will have people losing their minds in the pit then this is the one for you. The penultimate song on the split is named Exposed. Changing things up, now the band play a just over two minute track that packs in so much ferocity you can’t fight the urge to get those devil horns high in the air. We finish with Ransom Note. This is a song about how so many people die in the USA because they can’t afford to pay health insurance. Coming from the UK where we’re very lucky to have the NHS, it’s shocking to me that anyone has to pay for healthcare. It’s disgusting. This was probably the song that hit me hardest on the split and it’s a perfect choice for a final track as is leaves you walking away outraged about this situation.

Listening to this split on a sleepy Tuesday morning really woke me up. Having both bands on this split was a great idea. They work well together but also are different enough that they add variety to the split. I was already a fan of Still Alive before this split but I’m now keen to check out more of Stuck Lucky. I guess that’s the point of a split release.

Stream and download Facing Reality on Bandcamp here.

Like Stuck Lucky on Facebook here and like Still Alive on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Album Review: Just Stay Calm by Panic Problem (by Chris Bishton)

Like a lot of people, the COVID lockdown has meant I've been able to spend more time than usual checking out new bands. Once of my favourites I've discovered over the last few months is Baltimore's Panic Problem, a three piece pop punk band who released their debut album, Just Stay Calm, a couple of months ago.

Formed in 2018, but by three people with plenty of experience – Neal Page, Tom Gilhuley and Sue Werner from War on Women – the band remained a three piece after Werner departed due the rise and rise of WOW, being replaced by Jeff Brigman on bass.

Just Stay Calm is the band's debut album, although it does include four songs that were originally released on their debut EP. Not a problem for me as I'm new to the band, but I know some people can be a little disappointed when albums include 'too much' previously released material. That aside, it's 11 absolutely pure pop punks bangers, that was recorded with Pete Steinkopf from the Bouncing Souls, resulting in songs that sit in the same mould as a lot of fast, anthemic bands with that early 90s sound. Think Lagwagon meets Sicko (and if you don't remember Sicko, you should check them out – they were the early 90s pop punks that should have gone on to world domination, not Green Day).

As the band's name, and indeed album title suggests, much if not all that they sing about is associated with mental health issues. As I sit here writing this in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week, whilst most are still in some form of lockdown/isolation, it strikes me that even though the sound is similar, pop punk (and of course, much of society) has come a reasonably long way and it's great to hear so many bands address this subject so openly now. There's still some way to go, but bands like Panic Problem really do help encourage a positive culture in association with mental health. (By the way, you can still grab a download of CPRW's birthday comp on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going to the UK mental health charity Mind if you haven't already done so.)

But don't be fooled into thinking this album is going to be a solemn or introverted affair given its subject matter. Far from it. It's upbeat, feel good, positive and celebratory. As it should be. The first song, Time Flies, lets you know exactly what you're in for – a cocktail of fast guitars, relatable singalong lyrics and a super catchy chorus.

What follows are 10 more tracks in a very similar vein. There's not a great deal of variation with these, again a bit like a lot of those great pop punk albums that came before, which is just fine by me! But of course everyone will have their favourites on the album, mine being Works Suck In General, Stormy Weather and I Hate Tuesdays, but I'm sure anyone can easily pick out three completely different tracks. If you can manage to remember what it was like to be in an audience, try then to picture that whole audience singing along to every song a band plays. That's what I imagine will happen once these guys eventually get to play these songs live again. All pretty similar, but all audience favourites.

I don't think Panic Problem have set out to be anything other than what they have done with this album. Some might say we heard all this way back in the 90s, which might be true, but that's not to say that it isn't any good. There may have been a lot released back then that I really don't like, but it was also a bit of a golden age for this type of pop punk that Panic Problem have once again captured here.

Stream and download Just Stay Calm on Bandcamp here.

Like Panic Problem on Facebook here.

This review was written by Chris Bishton.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Top Tens: Frank from Much The Same's Top Ten Comics

Hi, I’m Frank and I play bass in Much The Same and I am also a lover of comics and cartoons. Comics and cartoons have always been my mental Xanax. (If you have ever met me, you know I’m a high strung dude.) Though they’re a bunch of books with pictures, there are some really great artists and stories out there. Here’s ten that I really enjoy in no particular order.

Batman: Hush
Whenever someone tells me they want to get into comics, this is the first one I lend them. First, because I fucking love Batman. Second, this comic has EVERYONE. Heroes. Villains. You also get a great mystery that introduces a new villain and one of the best Batman vs. Superman fights out there. Also, Jim Lee is probably my favorite artist when it comes to drawing superheroes.

Thor: God Of Thunder

The first Thor book I read. Puts the god of thunder against The God Butcher, who is essentially a brutal god serial killer. This one, if you make it to the second book, really makes you think. You get some time travel/flashbacks in this one and get to see a badass sky fight between a young arrogant Thor and The God Butcher. I’m really hoping this one makes it to the MCU, but I doubt it. That fight would look great on a big screen.

Ultimate Spider-Man vol 4 Legacy (issues 22–27)
Marvel kicked off the Ultimate series to introduce fans to old heroes from the beginning. You can never really go wrong reading one of these and anything by Brian Bendis is usually safe to be solid. Before this issue, Peter Parker is still finding his footing (and getting the shit kicked out of him) as Spider-Man. In this issue, I think he really steps into the role. There's a great battle with the Green Goblin and you see the badass Peter is becoming.

Locke And Key

I’m just going to say read the whole series. It’s IT meets Strangers Things meets whimsical adventures of children… but sometimes the kids may get their eyes ripped out. Magic keys and monsters, beautiful art – it has it all. I also recommend reading any novel by Joe Hill.

Green Lantern: Omnibus by Geoff Johns
I impulsively paid $100 dollars for this after a drunken trip to the comic shop. It’s the size of Moby Dick and worth it. My favorite part of it is the Sinestro Corps War where we are given the inception of Yellow Lanterns, their back stories, and a pretty epic space battle. If you’re looking to get into Green Lantern, you’ll be an expert by the end. I also love that anyone who’s brave can be a Lantern. My niece thought Green Lantern was a guy and it was cool to see her pumped that a girl could be one as well. Man, woman, alien, gay, anyone without fear can join the Corp.

Civil War
The MCU version was great and the source material is right on par. Enough stuff was left out of the movie that this read will be new to you if you only saw the film. Same basic premise of Captain America squad vs. Iron Man squad. We also get an adult Spider-Man whose story arc in this is my favorite, and adult Spider-Man knows how to beat some ass.

DC Identity Crisis
Someone is killing members of the Justice League’s families in some pretty brutal ways. Question is who? This is a great mystery and it has everyone from the JLA. Amazing battle as well with Deathstroke single handedly taking on members of the JLA.

Mark Waid’s Daredevil vol 5 (issues 22–27)
Known as the man without fear, here we find Daredevil afraid. His best friend is dying of cancer and all his loved ones are being targeted. A battle with the villain Ikari leaves him beaten and terrified. I recommend all of Waid’s Daredevil. Daredevil is a character who has been lower than low and struggles with depression. Waid tried to reinvent him as a man trying to beat that and putting on a happy face. Something we can all relate to sometimes.

Deadpool: Secret Invasion
Deadpool vs. The Skrulls. I peed myself laughing out loud with this one. Deadpool is smart, funny, and ruthless. Wait till you get to the part where they clone the Skrulls from Deadpool’s DNA.

Batman: Death In The Family

I was obsessed with Robin as a kid and this one features the death of the second more violent Robin, Jason Todd. This comic showed me that comics weren’t just books where heroes sweep in and save the day. It was bloody, violent, and tragic. The panels of The Joker beating Robin, a child, with a crowbar over and over and over and over and over again… are haunting. Probably shouldn’t have read this as a kid. However, highly recommend this now and this event led to great characters and stories down the line.

Like Much The Same on Facebook here.

Much The Same recently releases a remixed and remastered version of their classic album Quitters Never Win on Lockjaw Records. Buy it here.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Album Review: Split by Catbite & Omnigone

Bad Time Records are without a doubt the best ska punk label in the world at the moment. It seems as if everything they release is absolute gold and with every announcement they make I know I need to check out the bands. On the 5th of June the label releases a new four song split featuring Catbite and Omnigone. On the four song split, the bands cover one of each other’s songs as well as covering a classic punk song from the past. Both acts are among the hottest in the scene right now so I was very keen to check out the split.

Philadelphia’s Catbite are the first band up. They decided to cover Omnigone’s Horizontal Aggression. Omnigone’s original version of the song is more of an upbeat skacore style. Catbite’s take on the song sees them add some organ and it gives the song a more traditional ska sound. I felt like this actually really helped to get the song’s message of unity coming across even more than on the original. Catbite’s classic cover is White Riot by The Clash. This song doesn’t stray too far from the original. The band do a great job of retaining the energy and spirit of the track. It’s a brave decision to cover one of the most well known songs of a band as legendary of The Clash but Catbite certainly do it justice.

Omnigone kick off their side of the split with a cover of Catbite’s Scratch Me Up. Here Omnigone take a song that has more of a traditional two tone ska song and transform it into a hardcore song. Interestingly, reading the promo notes, Omnigone’s Adam originally wanted to do a ska punk cover of the track before he was convinced to turn it into a hardcore song. I absolutely loved this version almost as much as I love Catbite’s version. You can tell that the band had a lot of fun doing it as well. Omnigone’s other track on the split is a cover of Nothing New, a song that’s probably best known as a Link 80 song but was originally written for Omnigone’s Barry’s old band, Blast Bandits. (In case you didn’t know, Adam and Barry of Omnigone are both former members of Link 80). This version of the song feels more stripped back without the horns of the Link 80 version but still retains all of its energy.

This is such a fun little split by two of the best ska punk bands to emerge over the past few years. If you like these songs, I really urge you to check out both band’s most recent albums. If you’re a fan of ska punk, they are essential for your collection.

Stream and download the split on Bandcamp here.

Like Catbite on Facebook here and like Omnigone on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Album Review: Bon Voyage by Mikey Erg

Mikey Erg is one of the most popular and prolific songwriters of the worldwide punk rock scene so I was kind of surprised that there wasn’t more fanfare surrounding his new four track EP Bon Voyage. I feel like this was mainly because it was released in time for Erg’s European summer tour which was obviously postponed due to COVID-19. Bon Voyage was released by the always brilliant Dutch record label Stardumb Records and sees Erg return to his pop punk roots.

Bon Voyage begins with its title track. The song wastes no time in starting as Erg’s unmistakable vocals welcome you to the song, and the EP, in an explosive fashion. For me, this is Erg at his very best – the song is fast but also so melodic and full of hooks. Interestingly, he has managed to craft an extremely catchy song without the track even having a chorus. The harmonies from Lydia Loveless are a very nice touch. The second track is titled The New Departure Blues. This song isn’t quite as bombastic as Bon Voyage and has more of a similar vibe to his previous two solo albums rather than his work with The Ergs. The song is about coming to terms with the breakup of a relationship and admitting that “you said the wrong things for a long time today.”

The upbeat pop punk returns on Colleen. This song is just pure energy from start to finish and will be brilliant when played live to an enthusiastic crowd. Like all the best pop punk, it’s brilliance is in its simplicity. Each verse is one line repeated four times so it gets stuck in your head immediately. There’s a positive hope in the song as Erg reassures the listener that they are not alone. The final song on Bon Voyage is a cover of The Beatles song Mother Nature’s Son. I know a miniscule amount about The Beatles so had to listen to the original to really know the difference. The Beatles original is a slower track but on Erg’s version he adds a lot of tempo and life to the song and it’s much more my kind of thing. I know that Erg is a big Beatles fan so I assume he had a lot of fun covering the song.

It was great to hear Mikey Erg return to his roots for Bon Voyage. It’s a short and snappy EP that you would expect given his past pop punk history. It’s a massive shame it’ll likely be a year before he is back in Europe but I look forward to hearing these songs live then.

Stream and download Bon Voyage on Bandcamp here.

Like Mikey Erg on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Album Review: Net Profit by The Scuts

The Scuts are a three piece pop punk band from London influenced by the likes of NOFX, No Use For A Name, The Offspring and Descendents. Originally an acoustic folk duo before growing into a electric three piece, the band have recently released their second album named Net Profit. Let’s see what it’s like.

Net Profit begins with a short song named Sony (Suck My Boney). This track is only twenty four seconds long and starts out a bit folky before finishing in a rowdy fashion. It’s about how punk rock isn’t cool and fashionable and gets ignored by the major labels. London Living Slave feels like the first proper song on the album. It’s an uptempo pop punk song about struggling to get by on the living wage. It’s fast and punchy but is also underlined with some sweet harmonies. The song has a great sing-along quality that will unite a crowd of people who are probably all struggling with the same thing. Punk rock always does a great job of showing people they are not alone. Generation Rent is about how rent is becoming unaffordable in many parts of the country and how landlords take advantage of people. Sadly this is a big problem in the UK but it’s great to hear a band shine a light on this issue. This is another hugely relatable song that will unite the people listening to it. That’s All Volks is a slower and more melodic song where you can hear the band’s Offspring influence. The track is about how big global corporations often have ties with fascist organisations and that we should fight against them. It’s an interesting listen that really makes you think about who you give your money to.

The fifth song, Monet, begins in a pretty sombre fashion before jumping up a few gears and becoming a full on melodic punk track. NOFX are clearly a big influence on the sound of the track, particularly their song Leave It Alone. UK Minimum Wage sees The Scuts showing off their folk punk origins. This really adds another element to the album and keeps it feeling fresh. It’s about how the minimum wage doesn’t go up as quickly as price inflation. This means many people struggle financially whilst the rich people just get richer. The Scuts take aim at the Conservative government who have willingly let this happen. What a bunch of bastards the Tories are. X-Fucktor sees The Scuts jump back to a skate punk style for a song where they talk about people’s obsessions with TV talent shows and how people use them as stepping stones to get famous rather than earning it the more traditional way. Coming from a punk background that values DIY ethics very highly, seeing performers earn their stripes in this way is something that is very frustrating and I completely relate to The Scuts on this track.

Hypnocratic is a mid-tempo track about how political parties lie to you to make you vote for them and that eventually people will begin to see through these lies. It took me far too long to work out the pun in the title of this track. Given the subject of the song, you might expect it to be an angrier sounding track but in truth it’s pretty uplifting, particularly when they sing about the revolution that will come soon enough. The ninth track on Net Profit is named Getting Lucky. On this track The Scuts step away from the politics and play a song about some misadventures in sex. It’s all a bit silly and doesn’t really feel that in keeping with the album. That said, punk rock doesn’t always have to be super serious and should also have a sense of humour. Plagiarism is the title of the penultimate track. It’s a tongue in cheek song about ripping off other band’s music and lyrics and claiming it as your own. Throughout the song, there are little nods to other band’s songs that are quite fun to try and pick out. Net Profit is finished by Hey Sister, Seoul Sister. After a long audio clip talking about North Koreans moving south, we are treated to the heaviest song on the album. I really enjoyed hearing The Scuts head in this direction and think it was a great way to finish Net Profit.

Net Profit is a fine pop punk album from a London band that I wasn’t too familiar with before. They don’t really reinvent the wheel here but it’s a fun listen and they touch upon many important subjects that people need to listen to. For the most part, they talk about more local political problems which makes the album really relatable for me.

Stream and download Net Profit on Bandcamp here.

Like The Scuts on Facebook here.

This review was written by Colin Clark.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Column: CPRW Recommendations For Bandcamp Day

Tomorrow (Friday July 3rd) Bandcamp are having another day where they waive all of their fees to help support the artists on their platform. Bandcamp recognises that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of bands and artists have lost a major revenue stream due to not being able to gig. These special days have been amazingly helpful for the bands and have also brought the music community together. We’re big fans of Bandcamp here at CPRW and Marcus had the idea of each of us picking a band or release to recommend people check out tomorrow.

Self-Indulgent One-Take Woefuls (Acoustic) by Goodbye Blue Monday

If sadder versions of really sad songs is your thing then this is an EP for you! Glasgow’s Goodbye Blue Monday take three old songs and one new one and strip them back to make them so heartbreakingly beautiful you can’t help but get emotional. The songs sound so different to their rowdy, full band accompaniments and it really is a testament to Graham Lough’s incredible song writing ability. The EP is raising funds for Rad Apples and Conroy’s Basement in Dundee, home of the wonderful Make-That-A-Take Records. (This EP also comes with a trigger alert – if you’re struggling in any way, please be aware when listening to this EP).

Dead Inside by CF98 (Dan #2)

This EP is a fifteen-minute slice of punk-rock heaven. Each song is a chorus-driven hard-hitter complemented by perfect backing riffs. They also touch on great subjects such as gender stereotypes and mental health. As soon as I picked up this record, the title track (Dead Inside) resonated with me and helped me with my personal mental health issues I'm facing during lockdown. It felt like a friendly reminder that I'm not the only one feeling a little dead inside right now. If you like NOFX or Useless I.D. then don't sleep on this little EP – it's the best one I've heard so far this year!

We Live Here by Bob Vylan

London two piece grime punk act Bob Vylan released We Live Here on June 5th. From what I've heard from it, the album is eerily relevant to the current social climate and that makes it a very important listen. It's a politically hard hitting album that will inspire, enlighten and educate anyone listening to it. If you want to hear the entire album, you have to buy it as Bob Vylan have decided not to release it in full on streaming platforms.

Structure / Average At Best by Sunliner (Emma)

At the beginning of the year, before things all went down the drain, I made a list of ten bands I was excited about in 2020 and one of those bands was Leeds-based foursome Sunliner. Formerly known as Jake & The Jellyfish, Sunliner put out their first new music under their new guise recently. With the help of Lockjaw Records, Structure / Average At Best is the name of said release and both songs are excellent singalongable melodic punk rock with lyrical content that I’m sure many will be able to relate to – think working a minimum wage job you don’t enjoy and wondering where the time goes and/or what you’re doing with your life. As with all bands, Sunliner’s plans for 2020 have been put on hold but I’m glad they were able to get these songs out. I expect 2021 will be a big year for them.

Lockdown Unplugged by Ripcord Records

Lockdown Unplugged is a forty-five track acoustic compilation from Ripcord Records. It features a whole host of our favourites such as Paper Rifles, Burnt Tapes, Müg, ALLDEEPENDS, Don Blake, Codename Colin, Knife Club, Dead Neck and many more. All the acts featured recorded acoustic versions whilst in lockdown for the compilation. If forty-five acoustic tracks isn’t enough to wet your appetite then know that Lockdown Unplugged is also raising money for the mental health charity Support In Mind. If you buy the compilation on Bandcamp day, the charity will receive even more money. It’s a no-brainer purchase.

Jilted Lover by Quaker Wedding (Marcus)

Since my job went remote, my furthest drive is now is to the “other side of town”, which in my small city is about six minutes away. Coincidentally, it’s just enough time to listen to both songs from Quaker Wedding’s first single, “Jilted Lover”. Both songs are a perfect blend of self-loathing and regret, with a gruff delivery that really hits the spot. If there are any better songs than these that have been released this year, I haven’t heard them. I’m looking forward to their debut full length “In Transit” on Salinas Records in September.

Heavy Seas by Misfortune Cookie (Richard)

Let’s face it, this year has been an absolute write off and whilst we should have been basking in a summer of awesome tunes and amazing gigs we’ve been reduced to thinking of what could have been. One band I feel have been affected massively by this is the wonderful Misfortune Cookie... a name that seems ever-so apt given the circumstances. Last year’s Heavy Seas was an album full of bright, big summer songs and over the course of the year would have been taking their brand of Northern punk to the masses with some high profile support slots with the likes of Signals Midwest and Strike Anywhere (I was hoping to catch them at both) as well as a stint at Manchester Punk Festival. Sadly they’ll be unable to make any new friends at any of these now cancelled shows; so if you’ve not already done so pick up a copy of one of the best albums of last year, self-isolate in your garden, grab a craft beer and immerse yourself in its wonderfulness.

Covered-19 by Cherbourg Harps Assembly

Cherbourg Harps Assembly features Jan and Claire from Aberdeen bands Seas, Starry. Claire came up with the idea to cover 19 songs for an album to raise money for an animal sanctuary named Willows, which is based in the North East of Scotland. Willows looks after elderly and abused animals and relies on donations to stay afloat. Obviously, like a lot of charities and organisations, it has been hit hard by COVID-19. Among the artists covered on Covered-19 are Abba, Madonna, The Beatles, Tragical History Tour, Press Club, Stevie Nicks and Sonic Youth.

Stay Home. Stay Alive. Organise. by Davey Dynamite

Whenever somebody asks me for an artist they might not have heard of to check out, I will nine times out of ten say Davey Dynamite. Their last album Holy Shit is my favourite ever. In May, Davey released a brand new song titled Stay Home. Stay Alive. Organise. It’s an acoustic track that deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how the government and media are using it for their own gain. The title of the track is based off the slogan by the Poor People’sCampaign. All money made from the track will be given to Davey’s neighbourhood’s mutual aid group for services like mask/sanitiser distribution, food delivery, supporting houseless communities and paying rent. If interested, you can download the track for free now and donate here to avoid the cut that Bandcamp takes – or download it on Bandcamp day and everyone wins.

The Ol’ Reacharound by Monday Morning Justice (Robyn) 

We Did This Records is a DIY punk distro from South Africa, and their Bandcamp is jam-packed with excellent SA punk releases. Most recently, the Johannesburg-based band Monday Morning Justice put out an EP entitled ‘The Ol’ Reacharound’ that’s been keeping me going while we’ve all been under lockdown and unable to have any local shows. MMJ’s sound borrows from a lot of influences, mixing together folk and ska punk with a liberal dash of South African flavour. Their latest EP really shows the band at the top of their game. The people behind We Did This Records are also just lovely humans who would really appreciate your support.

South Somewhere Else by Nana Grizol
Athens, Georgia, indie folk punk band Nana Grizol released their new album South Somewhere Else on June 26th. Lead by former Defiance, Ohio member Theo Hilton, this is the follow up to 2018's Theo Zumm LP. A concept album inspired by growing up in Athens, South Somewhere Else is one of the most beautiful folk punk albums I've ever heard. It's a quieter and slicker sounding style than you might expect but still empowers you in ways that all the best punk albums do.

Pleasure Vision by Bacchae (Emma)

I’m ashamed to say that I only came across Washington, D.C., four-piece Bacchae when they were listed on Angry Grrrl Music Of The Indie Rock Persuasion’s 100+ Black Artists To Support On Bandcamp Day article last Bandcamp day – but I guess that was the point of the article, to check out bands you may not know! I instantly took a liking to their synth-driven raw indie punk and the album Pleasure Vision has fast become one of my favourites of the year. They’re due to play The Fest this year (if it happens) so I’m definitely going to check them out live if I can.

New Sun EP by Wrong Life

Wrong Life is the new project from Fraser Murderburger. Due to the current lockdown restrictions delaying the recording of the debut Wrong Life, Fraser started writing the second Wrong Life album which lead to him taking a break from that to create this EP. If you're already familiar with The Murderburgers then there will be familiarity here but Wrong Life present a pop punk with a more mid-tempo and restrained approach that really allows Fraser's brilliant lyrics to shine through. If this is a little taster of what to expect from Wrong  Life then I can't wait to hear the full album.

The Way To Bombs EP by Smiley & The Underclass

London dub punks Smiley & The Underclass released their new EP, The Way To Bombs, this week. Mixing reggae and punk rock to make empowering protest music, the four piece have been working hard on spreading their message to fans all over the world for years now. The Way To Bombs is the follow up to 2017's brilliantly received debut album Rebels Out There. Smiley & The Underclass are a band that can expertly capture the energy and passion from their live show and recreate it on record.

Untenable by Bad Moves (Emma)

Released just last Friday, I saw that a lot of people on Twitter were stoked for Untenable, the latest album by Bad Moves. I soon understood why when I listened to the album myself – it’s really, really good. If infectiously catchy power pop is something you might be into too then this is a must buy for Bandcamp day. It’s certainly been the spirit lifter that I’ve needed this past week and I won’t be stopping listening any time soon.

Of course, we would be remiss not to recommend the CPRW Records catalogue during this post. So far our little label has put out six different releases raising money for five different charities – Mind, Crisis, Macmillan, Music Venue Trust and Refugee Action UK. Have you got them all yet? Bandcamp Day is a great day to complete your collection.

Our good friends in Burnt Tapes are also currently donating any money they make on their Bandcamp page to Black Minds Matter. For my money, they are one of the best bands in the world at the moment and are due to play The Fest in Gainesville later this year. This is a great opportunity to delve into their entire back catalogue (including their brilliant first release Wasted History) as well as two new acoustic covers and support a very worthy cause.

If you didn’t pick them up on the last Bandcamp day, it's well worth checking out Decolonise Fest’s Bandcamp page to purchase one – or all – of their compilations. Decolonise Fest is a London-based DIY punk fest created by and for punx of colour. Comps like these are vital to diversifying your listening habits from typical all white male bands and DIY groups such as Decolonise Fest need our support and solidarity now more than ever.

If you're not on the hunt for new music but do want some new threads then head to Solidarity Not Silience's Bandcamp page. Solidarity Not Silence are a group of women facing a defamation case for speaking up about the disgusting treatment of women by a well known musician. Since 2017, they have been crowd funding the legal costs of this case. If you want to help out this extremely worthy cause and have a fresh new T-shirt to wear then click the link below.

Last but certainly not least, INiiT Records, the new label created by Our Lives In Cinema frontman and unsung hero of the UK DIY punk scene Mark Bartlett, are donating all the money they receive to organisations working for equality for those who have been deprived of it. So far INiiT Records have put out two stellar releases from Ode To Sleep and most recently High Visions. Two great acts you need to check out.