MILLIE MANDERS AND THE SHUTUP – Shutup EP

Based between London and Norwich, Millie Manders and The Shutup are a cross genre punk/rock/ska band who’s main aim is to hit their audience with big riffs and a bigger attitude. They’re one of those bands that seemingly never stops touring but, naturally, the hard yards put in on stage have made them tighter and tougher with the passing of time. Their 2018 EP ‘Shut Up’ showcases a variety of styles and moods from within the band’s musical canon, but still sounds remarkably coherent. This has much to do with Millie’s big voice – she has a definite presence, even on record – but it’s also down to some great brass; whether delving into straight ska or sounds of a more crossover variety, the horns sound huge throughout.

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Watch: Dot Dash unveil new video for ‘Unfair Weather’

Dot Dash’s 2018 LP ‘Proto Retro’ is easily the best of their career.  For the prolific band, the album very much presents a turning point: they’ve dispensed with the punkier elements and Mod based experiments.  Instead, ‘Proto Retro’ concentrates on the band’s power pop interests.

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DOT DASH – Proto Retro

Washington based power pop combo Dot Dash are very prolific for a DIY band. Not necessarily on a Guided By Voices scale, but they’ve released six albums over a seven year stretch and gained some very positive support across the net in the process. Some of their earlier works can sound a little ragged and mixed stylistic choices could sometimes make the band seem impulsive, but when on form, it’s always been possible to hear their post-punk and power pop influences shining through the budgetary constraints.

2018’s ‘Proto Retro’ absolutely blows previous efforts out of the water. With a budget that would suit many of the power pop bands of the early 80s – Shoes, Automatics, Off Broadway et al – Dot Dash now sound like a band full of confidence. Along with the vastly improved audio comes vastly improved songs and in material like ‘Fast Parade’ – a three minute belter with the kind of ringing guitars a thousand Big Star wannabes would kill for – they’re a band ready to reach out to a bigger audience.

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IDAHO GREEN – Rancher Bones EP

Montana’s Idaho Green are a band not so much shrouded in mystery as cloaked within the obsurd. Their list of band members is obviously fabricated and their band bio partly lifted from the legend of Lynyrd Skynrd. Scraping below the surface, though, they’re not related to Steve Gaines or Ronnie Van Zant; they’re still very much alive and have been active in one form or another since 2008. They’ve been releasing material since 2012 and the ‘Rancher Bones’ EP is their sixth release and despite only being short, it shows more scope and invention than before and is certainly more varied than 2016’s ‘Fuck Yeah…We’re Idaho Green’.

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