The are some great albums in the Wonder Stuff back catalogue. From the undeniably classic (‘The Eight Legged Groove Machine’) to the underrated (2005’s ‘Escape From Rubbish Island’), Stourbridge’s finest can often be relied on for delivering entertainment. A natural successor to 2016’s ’30 Goes Around The Sun’, ‘Better Being Lucky’ has a balanced approach; its mix upbeat material and thoughtful downers will appeal to the more committed fan. On first listen, it’s good…but as time passes, it’s one of those albums that sounds even better.
Back in the mists of time, long before Iron Maiden became a reality – let alone a world conquering phenomenon – bassist and founder member Steve Harris was in a band called Gypsy’s Kiss. Maiden fans will surely have heard Steve briefly talk about the band during the excellent Iron Maiden ‘Early Years’ documentary, but few would have suspected they’d actually get to hear them.
A concept record isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a band heavily influenced by Superchunk, The Replacements and various pieces from a pop-punk past. You probably wouldn’t expect a “divorce record” either – such things are often the province of the more introspective singer-songwriter – but that’s exactly where we find Ryan Allen and his Extra Arms at the close of 2019. An eight song outpouring, ‘Up From Here’ does a fabulous job of documenting Allen’s feelings and place within the world following a marriage split, but those who’ve enjoyed his previous works shouldn’t be concerned that this is too heavy going, as his thoughts are often coupled with some fabulous power pop and pop-punk arrangements.
With regard to Ramonescore sounds, few bands do it as well as The Hallingtons. If you’re a pop-punk fan, they have the kind of back catalogue where you can drop in at any point and enjoyment is guaranteed, but with 2019’s ‘Hexed’ they’ve delivered a career best.
It took Byzanthian Neckbeard five years to follow up their 2014 ‘From The Clutches of Oblivion’ long player, but for fans of that record, the three tracks that make up their 2019 EP ‘Extinction’ will certainly impress. In just fifteen minutes, Guernsey’s loudest band churn, grind and chug their way through a trio of incredibly heavy numbers, drawing influence from greats like Conan and Crowbar to help them in their quest for the ultimate riff.