Tag Archives: pop-punk

Sidelines / Lowlight Split (2014)

split cover..
split cover..

Sidelines (Melbourne) play slick, fast and melodic pop punk that has reminded me of SuchGold/StorySoFar since I first heard them. The live set from these lads is a great thing to watch, lots of energy, moves and showcases the bands control of their instruments. The band is incrementally moving away from the US-melodic-punk thing and finding their own unique groove but producing top notch jams along the way.

The debut EP (Progression / 2013) was hella tight, punchy and loaded with riffs and good vibes.. but the newest release and subject of this write up is a split between Sidelines and Perth’s ‘Lowlight’ with both bands bringing 2 new songs to the offering. Sidelines contribution has everything that stood out on the ‘Progression EP’ but perhaps with a little more maturity, better production and a healthy dosing of ‘gimme more-ness’.

Hooking up split’s between bands always serves both parties well and in this case Sidelines have paired up with a band from one of the most remote and isolates communities in Australia..Perth. Such a beautiful place, such good bands..so damn far away. Check out the split and turn it up loud!

I really look forward to more from these guys, they incorporate lead breaks/solos, double time, memorable choruses and group vocals, big break downs…what more could you want!

FFO: Story So Far, New Found Glory, Such Gold, Four Year Strong

Get on it here: http://sidelinesau.bandcamp.com/

Little Brother – Terrace EP (2014)

cool art work..
cool art work..

Accoustic side project from awesome pop punk band anyone?

Following in the tradition of unique pop-punk vocalists before him, John Floreani has taken time away from fronting the ever popular Trophy Eyes to release a solo acoustic EP titled ‘Terrace’ under the moniker of ‘Little Brother’. Now..Trophy Eyes are a damn good band and bring a great energy to the stage but when you listen to their recordings its John’s voice that really sells it. This release is showcasing that element 100% and stripping away all the cool riffs, drums and punk energy give’s a really contrasting view to what’s unique about both John and Trophy Eyes. His story telling and honesty are full frontal and you can not deny that this guy wears his heart on his sleeve.

This is a one guy – one guitar kind of recording, not unlike Chuck Ragan’s (Hot Water Music) or even Matt Kerek’s (Citizen) solo stuff. It comes across authentic and sincere and for that fact alone you should give this 15 minutes of your time. Such things are a rarity these days.

Grab it for a dollar ..or pay what you want via bandcamp:

http://littlebrotherau.bandcamp.com/releases

FFO: Trophy Eyes (duh), Chuck Ragan, Citizen, Make Do and Mend, Pentimento

Intimate Apparel – The Teaser EP (2014)

arrrgh...my eyeballs..
i cant un-see this…and i wish i could..

Based in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne 4 piece pop punk band ‘Intimate Apparel’ have nailed the early 2000’s pop punk sound by channelling the spirits of Sum 41/Guttermouth/Unwritten Law and adding a healthy dose of Aussie accents and attitude.

What works: the mix and production is spot on for the sound they’re going for. It’s all clear and present, the guitars sound suitably big, panned nice and wide. The vocals are right up front and accompanied by some nice harmonies and backings. The songs don’t go for too long, they have a few fun bits and it’s easy to see they arn’t taking themselves too seriously.

Dopey Villain’ has a great weezer-geek-rock vibe to it and a big halftime breakdown at the end. The band released a video for the song on YouTube so go look that up for a bit of fun. It’s an easy standout amongst this batch of songs and id like to hear more like it.

Fairer Moans’ has a quirky and playful sound to it thanks largely to the guitar parts and up tempo pace. There’s a catchy chorus and some neat gang vox at the end to add to the charm.

Sling King’ makes use of some double time and palm muted guitars …very pop punk. The vocal duties are shared on this one and the addition of extra voices helps to break things up from the hoarse/shouted delivery that leads the band.

Criticisms: the same generic sounds all the way through leave me wanting to hear some diversity. The sound is appropriate but not inventive. The band is emulating their influences..but yeh yeh we’ve all done that. Id prefer to hear more Vines/Weezer than Blink/Frenzal though to be honest.

I think these guys could be contenders if they stay on the path, work out the kinks and play with the sound a bit while avoiding the sad-boy phase as much as possible. Well done lads : )

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/intimate-apparel

Thesis – Holiday Home 7″ (2014 Lacklustre Records)

thesis rock
cover

Thesis are a 4 piece act from Sydney who play a raw mix of melodic pop punk with emo and indie elements mixed in for good measure. This is the bands 2nd release BUT first through the awesome crew at Lacklustre Records who offer it as a free download via bandcamp as well as handling vinyl orders. This business model of ‘free d/l + vinyl’ is really growing into a legit way of operating for independent labels across the indie/punk/hc scene in the wake of the digital revolution and the demise of CD sales. Can you believe that..ha ha.. not that long ago it was tapes dying off..and before that it was vinyl..! Now that they are both coming back would it be fair to say in a few more years we’ll reflect on the passing of the CD & mp3? Hmm..ponder that.

Back to the music..*ahem*..

Musically Thesis are pretty consistent with the current trend amongst bands in this scene. They blend lightly overdriven guitars with jangly power chords and harmonies/octaves over the top. Drums are straight forward, no double time or anything like that..it’s a mid-paced affair but to be fair it’s a very solid performance especially with some of the fills and rolls in the opening track ‘no love lost’! The bass sits pretty much square in the middle and just does the job without any real flair..BUT it all works well together to create a mature and melodic take on the pop-punk sound. Think early ‘Citizen’ or ‘Make Do and Mend’ for comparison.

The thing which is going to set this band apart from the rest is the vocals. It’s also going to polarise audiences into two camps: 1) those who like it for being different or 2) those who wig out and don’t get it. As a reviewer I should try and be impartial..but honestly I swung quite a bit on this point. At first I didn’t like it. Nope. It grated against my nerves in the same way i remember Hot Water Music used to get under my skin! The gruff/slightly off key and very Aussie delivery began to sound more and more fitting as listened to the EP over a few times..and as you may have guessed .. I like it now. Quite a bit 🙂

These lads will be at Tape Deck Fest if you were lucky enough to get tickets to that and have also been touring around with the likes of Trophy Eyes, Basement and others.. no doubt in a few years they’ll be one of those bands you get to say ‘oh i saw them when they played dot dot dot..’ or in this case ‘oh i’ve got their first vinyl they put out back in 2014!!’

It’s a grower. Get onto it 🙂

Digital here:

http://lacklustrerecords.bandcamp.com/album/holiday-home-2

Or get the physical 7” here:

http://lacklustrerecords.bigcartel.com/product/thesis-holiday-home-7

Braves – Surgery (single) / 2014

Single cover...
Single cover…

Braves – Surgery / single (2014)

‘Braves’ are a 5 piece alt/pop punk group from over the pond in New Zealand who’ll be visiting our shores really soon. They recently released a new single online that caught my attention through a few mutual band-friends posting about it and it’s turned into one of those awkward song-obsessions for me!

‘Surgery’ makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I get chills and it stirs up memories and all kinds of things. When the guitars open up..it’s like a late 90’s grunge flashback…the gravelly vocals that start it off compliment this perfectly. The backing vox/shouts and harmonies are pure gold and early indicators that these lads have listened to a lot of Citizen/B&C etc. Drums are well placed in the mix (sounding great too) and the drummer does quite a good job of shifting the momentum up and down when the guitars are pretty much just doing the same thing for awhile in some sections. It winds down to a vocal/guitar section mid way…builds back up to huge half time chorus…with amazing vocals and a melody that’ll stick with you…it sounds huuuuge..guitars are massive..and then it winds down again. Dynamics like this are highly effective in keeping a listener engaged and the ears fresh..rather than adjust to 3mins of the same thing. Surprise guitar noodling with guitars take it out to a close..and once it’s over..I hit repeat.
But seriously. I’ve jammed this…76 times accordingly to the ‘most played’ playlist on my phone. Love. It. How this band isn’t signed yet…I don’t know. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from Topshelf/No Sleep/Runforcover or one of those other US indie punk labels.

If you follow the links below you’ll find your self directed to their bandcamp where you can get up to speed and grab their 2013 demo too which even though it isn’t the focus of my write up here ..is heaps worth a spin.

http://www.bravesnz.bandcamp.com

The band has the single up for purchase..or you can have at it for free…

RIYL: Citizen, Balance & Composure, Make Do And Mend

Stalk em here > http://www.facebook.com/wearebraves

Harbours – Everything From Here On Out / EP (2014)

a2630871368_10

So one night I’m scrolling through fussbook as you do… and someone shares a link…”hey check this band out! *link” …I scroll past…but no more than a few minutes later I see someone else sharing the same link. Then another. Then another. By then I was curious enough to find out what was so good about it and so…I obeyed social protocol and I clicked the link. It went to a download page for a new act called ‘Harbours’. Who just dropped a 3 track demo/ep called ‘Everything From Here On Out’.

I hit play.. > #1 ‘Shelved’
They kick things off with a pop-punk guitar strumming intro and the band kicks in few bars later to a solid halftime/heavy groove. Then 8 bars in.. it breaks.. and *bam*..double time. The first thing I noticed is this sounds way too good for a demo. This sounds killer…better up loud too! I turn it up a little more. I’m sucked in. Sounding a lot like a StorySoFar/NewFoundGlory combo till the end of the song approaches and then its like an aussie Further Seems Forever tribute. I think I’m in love.

Track #2 ‘Golden’ gives us a great tom-filled drum intro before upping into more pop-punk double time fun, vocals kick right back in..with a very solid performance here too. You get some high notes, some shouts, even some low harmonies and at times a quieter delivery than normal. These are dynamics often missing from pop punk vocalists. Another thing I’m appreciating as I listen are the very subtle harmonies and vocal doubling. These elements are usually up more up front to either enhance the vocals ..like an effect…or worse .. to cover up the performance if it’s not strong enough. Not the case here. Everything that’s working is done with subtlety.
By the end here the vocals and the energy get pulled right back to a kind of mellow instrumental with clean guitars and roomy drums. It’s an awesome move and takes it’s time to settle down to an end.

#3 ‘Room Without A View’ has a mid paced sad-ballad ‘Citizen’ vibe about it…the chords carry a certain melancholy to them. It all comes across like it should.. that grungey/emo sound. The chorus is killer…total heart-string stuff…it’ll be something to watch for at shows, as people catch on the lighters will go up, people will sing along. Yup.. these guys are sick. No wonder every one was sharing this around. Typically the bass is buried in the mix, like..yeh he’s in there but he’s practically invisible.. so that’s always some thing that grinds my gears. Get inventive bass players ..move..do something more than follow the guitars!! But anyway..

This band is going to make a big impression if not for the quality of this material then definitely for the style and execution of something that’s been well and truly worn and done by many others. It’s not new, it’s not pushing the boundaries. ‘Harbours’ just seem to be playing all the good bits of their songs…all the time! I cant wait to hear more 🙂

RIYL: Story So Far,Further Seems Forever, Light Years, Knuckle Puck
Get it here:
http://harboursaus.bandcamp.com
Stalk them.. here:
http://www.facebook.com/harboursaus