THE RUN UP – Good Friends, Bad Luck EP

The Run Up are five friends from Bristol, always ready to bring the world big riffs and bigger choruses. Their brand of pop-punk is tougher than most, but within the riffs comes a fantastic sense of all things melodic, always allowing great hooks to catch the listener. Their debut album, a self-titled affair from 2017, presented a solid half hour’s worth of material but, if anything, this follow up EP is even better. The short format suggests the band have really streamlined their approach and decided to only share the very best tracks this time around.

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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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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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