Sad Girlz Club “Old Habits”

Sad Girlz Club “Old Habits” is a callback to 90s attitudes while bringing an interesting spin on the sound. While it takes a lot of its aesthetic from Riotgrrl movement, it is also a hooky and pop-punk track that will be an earworm for at least a few days after you hear it.

This track actually came out last year as a single with a cover of Lightweight’s “Round Trip”. From the sounds of it though, they’re going back to the studio soon, can’t wait to see what else they whip up in the process.

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SPRINTS “DRONES” is a high energy, yet emotionally detached scorcher, with it’s driving drums and jagged nearly No Wave musical stabs that are perfectly complemented by it’s accompanying kaleidoscopic horror-tinged musical video.

Their new album Manifesto is out now Nice Swan Records, from the tracks that I’ve heard it should be an interesting listen to say the least!

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Vega Maestro “No Good Trying”

The legacy of Syd Barrett looms large, so large that even Pink Floyd spent nearly their entire career trying to crawl out from underneath it. Even while they were exploiting it for their greatest commercial successes. It could even be said that the whole genre of psychdelliic rock owes a debt to the madcap songwriter.

Denver’s Vega Maestro does nearly the unthinkable by taking one of Syd’s more tilted songs and giving it more of a solid backbone, but it really works, while taking the song in an interesting straight-forward delivery. I’ve been checking out some of their other covers on Spotify, and they’re doing really solid interesting takes on many underground staples.

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Proto Idiot “Difficult Questions”

Proto Idiot · 04 – Difficult Questions

While there have been thousands of bands who have followed the standard format in the wake of the 70s punk explosion, there have been far less that have gone down the road that was pioneered by such bands as Buzzcocks and Swell Maps. When there is it’s fairly refreshing not hearing yet another Sex Pistols or Ramones clone. Proto Idiot’s “Difficult Questions” is just such one of those songs.

With a honed, yet off-hand style “Difficult Questions” is buzzy and raucous. Their new album “Leisure Opportunity” is out on Slovenly Records (just ordered mine). And they have a fairly extensive back catalog to start digging through.

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Mary Anne’s Polar Rig “Your House”

Mary Anne’s Polar Rig – Your House

Mary Anne’s Polar Rig’s “Your House” is a fuzzy 90s indie rock gem, that just happened to come out this morning. A little Sonic Youth mixed with a bit of Superchunk, “Your House” is the kind of song that can make you forget that over 2 decades have passed since a song like this would have been featured on a show like The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Is that enough 90s references? Probably.

The song has an intangible youthful yearning quality that pulls on the nostalgic heartstrings as hard as it pulls on a desire to change everything. Their debut album “Makes You Happy” is still on its way, but it looks like they have a number of songs to check out on their Bandcamp page in the meantime.

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Miesha & The Spanks “Unstoppable”

Miesha & The Spanks are a two-piece from Alberta, Canada. Their new single “Unstoppable” is a timeless piece of rock’n’roll that walks a tightrope which neither rushes through its dead-on hooks and punk swagger nor starts belaboring its deliberate pacing. Its a song takes its own time, and you’re willing to take it because it’s just that damn good.

In a world where a lot of rock music starts cannibalizing whatever band is currently popular. It’s refreshing to hear a band that is willing to take little bits and pieces from different sounds and eras, in order to create something unique and appealing. Miesha & The Spanks are definitely a band that we should all be keeping a closer eye on.

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The Dead Ringers “Salt”

“Salt” by The Dead Ringers is a Maryland 2-piece that incorporates raw and energetic garage punk with surf keyboards and sunshiney vocal touches that create an interesting juxtaposition that is unique and refreshing.

Their new EP is “Dull Life”, a name that most of us can identify with right now, featuring the single “Salt” is on their Bandcamp now.

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The Moonjacks “Bowl”

At just over 2.5 minutes, The Moonjacks’ “Bowl” is a buzzy-poppy number that has all the right stuff to be stuck in your head for days. It’s blown out while still having decipherable melodies and lyrics, it’s high energy without being performed at breakneck speed.

What I’m trying to say is that this might just be the Goldilocks “just right” of garage-pop. Do your ears a favor and check it out.

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Hotmom “Crutch”

Hotmom’s “Crutch” combines great hardcore attitude with a bit of an experimental edge that really separates it from the rest of the pack. Hailing from Austin, TX the band shows that you can still be powerful and fast without relying on the cliches and tropes of the genre.

Their EP “Stupid Vegan Band” is solid and avaliable on their Bandcamp now!

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Table Scraps “I Wanna Stay Home With You”

Within the first seconds of the Table Scraps’ new single, “I Wanna Stay Home With You” you wonder if it’s the latest single from a band on Burger, and… well, it is. Which is actually quite a good thing. The Table Scraps embody the infectiousness and high energy garage rock that has come to typify what has made the label a standout in the community.

With its social distancing theme, the video is fun and very of the moment in a way that comes off as cheeky and fun. Definitely a band that I’ll have to keep an eye out for when their album finally comes out.

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Alternative Radio “Julie’s Got A Gun”

Alternative Radio’s “Julie’s Got A Gun” comes straight out of the mid-70’s New York proto-punk songbook. With hints of The Heartbreakers and the 101 associated projects, the song is raw and so clearly defined by the time that they belt out the first riff – that you already know what you’re in for for the next two minutes.

Less of a pastiche of the genre’s former glory than a reshaping of the form to fit a modern context. “Julie’s Got A Gun” does well to show the frustration and need of release of the current world.

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Cup “Hideaway”

Cup isn’t exactly your typical garage rock outfit, combining elements of Garage, Dark Indie Rock, and Power pop. While you hear shades of many of the great west-coast garage rock bands of the past 10 years or so, there’s also really cool analog synths and shades of Incesticide era Nirvana in the guitar sound.

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Gateway Drugs “Wait (Medication)”

Gateway Drugs’ new track “Wait (Medication)” is loud, trippy, druggy, and possibly the best example of whatever you would, personally, consider bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain & Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Produced by Sune of the Raveonettes, the track has an otherworldly feel that is perfect for these days of self-isolation.

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Drens “Saditsfiction”

Once past the tightly wound post-punk intro that has hints of early The Cure, German 4-piece Drens’ new track “Saditsficiton” is a piece of buzzy lo-fi garage-pop perfection that would give anything off of Nobunny’s debut “Love Visions” a run for its money.

From the looks of their SoundCloud page it looks like there’s quite a bit of material to continue to dive into, and I know that I’m going to.

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French Alps Tiger “Floor Is Lava”

Much like the child-like name of “Floor Is Lava” might suggest, French Alps Tiger’s new single is full of playful energy that recalls a more innocent time in your life. Full of sugary energy, the song buzzes through it’s running time and leaves it’s imprint on your brain.

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Furlong “Hate Girls”

Furlong’s new single “Hate Girls” starts off with a halting and slightly uneasy chunky guitar riff that recalls the 90s in such a non-nostalgic way that makes the song feel like something else completely while holding its roots in hard-driving but coldly delivered rock.

Only just the third single from the Australian outfit, I suspect nothing but good things from here.

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Lizard Prom “Betty Goes To Hell”

Lizard Prom’s “Betty Goes To Hell” has an otherworldly quality to it that really makes it sound not much else that’s out there right now. With equal parts noise and pop hooks it’s definitely a band I’m interested in hearing more from!

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Neighbours Burning Neighbours “Softly”

Neighbours Burning Neighbours’ “Softly” is a moody, dissonant burner that touches on post-no wave that specifically recalls early Sonic Youth in a way that will make you nostalgic for the 80’s underground in a way that very few songs recall these days.

Spending a little bit of time and checking out the handful of songs that they have up on Spotify, it shows that NBN is a band that is willing to experiment to come up with uncomfortable but enjoyable listens.

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C.C. Potato “Almost Alright”

C.C. Potato’s “Almost Alright” is one of the first new songs in the 90’s Epitaph mold that really surpasses quite a bit of that classic LA/Skate-punk sound.

With super high energy and more than a passing resemblance to the vocals of Fat Mike. The song will for sure leave you wanting more. Luckily the band has two previous albums available on their Bandcamp and will definitely be what I’ll be listening to this weekend.

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Sløtface “Tap The Pack”

Sløtface has a sound that is an uptight good time, loud and noisy, but a little stiff. “Tap The Pack” has a frenetic energy that’s infectious.

Having checked out a few of their tracks at random this one is a little more uptempo than the other ones that I’ve checked out — however, all the songs have a good vibe and are well worth investigating.

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Midwestern Medicine “Everything I Have To Offer”

Midwestern Medicine’s “Everything I Have To Offer” has one of those timeless, raw and ramshackle rock and roll sounds that sounds just as good today as it would have if it came out anytime during the last 70 years.

Hailing from Maine, as an Iowan I’m more than a little big offended by their appropriation of the moniker, but I’ll forgive them this time but only because the song is that good.

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Tiffy “I’m Not Equipped For This”

This live in-studio version of east-coasters Tiffy’s “I’m Not Equipped For This” is an interesting combination of ’90s alt-pop with a bit of shoegazer/dream pop mixed in (mostly in the withdrawn vocal delivery & production).

After you’re done listening to this, be sure to check out their EP “Fire Sale” on Bandcamp. One stand-out “90s Teen Movie” nearly perfectly describes the vibes on getting off their sound.

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Neighbours Burning Neighbours “Grace”

First, little digression if I may. A year or two ago a compilation was put out called Subnormal Girls collecting post-punk by some of the best, yet underappreciated women-fronted groups from the original era.

Why am I talking about this? Well, it’s because I feel that Neighbours Burning Neighbours is creating some of the most interesting and original sounding post-punk since this original era. Equal parts noisy and cooing the song is unlike almost anything that you’ll find out there right now.

“Grace” and “Lunar Hair Care” (which came out a few months ago) are definitely signs of a band that is onto something new and interesting, and well worth checking out.

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Winter “Nothing More”

Combining an interesting array of sounds from the Slowcore opening to the sweeping noisy dream-pop heights Winter’s “Nothing More” is as shrouded in hazy mystery as it is a truly engaging and hooky. An extremely hard combination to pull off, but Winter makes it sounds like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

It sounds like hyperbole. However, Winter is making a sound that is so rarely pulled off, that it’s just calling for a deep dive.

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Leggy “Not What You Need”

The fourth appearance of Leggy on Pop Occulture. So for those of you who haven’t read about them here before, here’s the shortest recap. “Leggy is a trio from Cincinnati, OH. Creating some of the interestingly smeary/dreamy/noisy punk out there these days.”

That being said Leggy’s new track “Not What You Need” is yet another great track that pulls together all the elements that I’ve enjoyed about their work so much in the past while adding a pop clarity to the mix without compromising their interesting combination of sounds.

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Lot Lizard “Ice”

Lot Lizard’s “Ice’ has a tight dark sound, that reminds me of East Bay Ray providing guitar for a post-punk outfit circa 1979. Hard but infectious, the pained / yelled vocal style provides a nice balance against the slick high-energy performance.

Digging around their Bandcamp, it feels like their sound and production has come a long way since last year’s demo. Though the few songs that they have for offer there are all well-crafted and interesting.

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King Willow “Your Band”

King Williow’s “Your Band” is a ferocious yet sweet-sounding power-pop track railing against a certain kind of egotism that exists in pretty much every scene that I’ve, personally, ever witnessed. With cleverly stinging lyrics, King Willow strikes back with enough wit and hook to leave the song in the head of those its railing against for days.

From the looks of their Bandcamp, this is just the latest in a string of really strong singles that I hope builds to something amazing.

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Djunah “Animal Kingdom”

One of the unfortunate side effects of the current musical climate is that it’s few and far between that I actually see a video that actually pulls me in visually. However, every once and a great while I see something as visually interesting and well directed as the video for Djunah’s “Animal Kingdom” which reminds me of the artist Maurizio Cattelan’s work on the Itallian art magazine Toliet Paper.

As for the song itself, Djunah has a powerfully retrained sound on “Animal Kingdom” that feels like a fresh take on 90’s grunge/riotgrrl. The only complaint I would have about the song is that at just over 2 minutes, I just want to hear more.

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Broken Baby “My Head’s A Television”

Broken Baby’s “My Head’s A Television” is a buzzy energetic romp that feels like a steamroller bowling down to the seconds of it’s less than 3 minute runtime. Full of amazing hooks, and frantic playing it’s possibly one of the best lo-fi indie-punk tracks you’ll hear this year (not much time left!)

Best of all if you go over to their Bandcamp you can download it for free right now!

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Desert Sharks “Sorceress”

Desert Sharks “Sorceress” is a high energy track that smacks you in the head from the opening chords all the way through until the end of the song. In a time of lackluster pop-punk and even worse hard rock. It’s still refreshing to hear a band who knows how to create original sounding music that doesn’t pull any punches.

Their new album Baby’s Gold Death Stadium, just came out a few days ago but is already calling out to me to check out the rest. I suggest you do the same.

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