MENTO BURU – East Bakersfield Christmas EP

Their name might not be familiar, but California’s Mento Buru have shared stages with The Specials, Long Beach Dub All Stars, Desmond Dekker, Fishbone and The Aquabats. They’ve been affiliated with the legendary Moon Ska record label. They’ve worked hard to bring good time ska, reggae and Latin sounds to enthusiastic audiences since the early 90s and, by often sidelining the punkier elements that cut through so many of the third wave acts, as their name suggests, they’ve always sounded so much more authentic than some of their would-be peers.

The band began a hit and miss 2020 by issuing a mini album of archive recordings (‘The Skarage Days Revisited ’92-’96’) which acted as a great collection filler for the fan. In many ways, their second release of the year is of much bigger appeal, even if it has a shorter shelf-life in terms of listening opportunities. As its title suggests ‘East Bakersfield Christmas’ finds Mento Buru bringing the sunny sounds of Kingston to the Californian suburbs, contrasting various winter wonderland scenarios with music that often suggests beaches and warmth.

Although only six tracks in length – five different songs and a bonus Spanish translation – the band’s picks are absolutely classic. Their performances often bring so much life to the very familiar songs, and overall, this EP – although quite far removed from traditional festive fare – is a lot of fun.

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Creating a sound they’ve dubbed “Munstercore”, Dickie Devil and the Deviants create music that takes a hefty dose of rockabilly and punk, a decent amount of surf rock and just enough sass to create perfect additions to your Halloween themed playlists. Their 2020 digital release offers a couple of numbers which resurrect fond memories of the early 80s and of classic psychobilly fare, but with a dash of Necromantix toughness and some good pop culture thrown in for good measure.

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They’ve been fired and they’ve got lost…and now they’re bored. Finding themselves in this situation having been worn down by the corruption of US politics and months of isolation during a global pandemic, The Radio Buzzkills have filled some time recording an EP of covers. It may be a stopgap until live performances resume, but it’s anything but tossed off. In fact, the five tunes draw from a wonderfully broad musical palate, which the Buzzkills remould into high energy slabs of pop-punk that you’ll definitely love if you’ve had any time at all for their previous work.

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Grab ‘Segall Smeagol’, a free download from Ty Segall

At a time when most of the world is under quarantine, we all need entertainment and cult singer songwriter Ty Segall has a gift for everyone.  A surprise release, ‘Segall Smeagol’ features reworkings of six tracks from the Harry Nilsson album  ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’, a classic long player, reworked in Segall’s own style.

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