PROTON PACKS / THE LIVERMORES – Party Time For Astronauts EP

Split releases are always interesting, but once in a while one will come along that’ll be utterly amazing. This 2018 release from I Buy Records (Italy) in conjunction with Mom’s Basement Records (USA) featuring unreleased tracks by Italian punks Proton Packs and The Livermores is such a disc. Although neither band is hugely well known outside their home country, both are capable of supplying first rate Ramones styled pop punk that’s as well played as any.

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BLACK OATH – Litanies In The Dark EP

black-oath-epWith three full lengths and a handful of EP’s behind them, Italy’s Black Oath have built a cult following since the late noughties, been featured on a Black Sabbath tribute disc and released an underground classic in 2015’s ‘To Below and Beyond’, an album which definitely pushed the band farther up the league table. A hard act to follow, 2016’s ‘Litanies In The Dark’ EP acts as a mere distraction, plugging a gap by featuring four leftovers recorded between 2012-2015. A couple of these tracks are worthy of adding to the Oath canon, others not: as is often the way with leftovers, they are sometimes left over for a reason.

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CONTESSA & THE SQUIRES – Stomp The Bomb EP

contessaOccupying a musical space somewhere between noisier rockabilly revivalism and the more accessible end of the psychobilly movement, Italian outfit Contessa & The Squires very much bring a party atmosphere on their third EP, 2016’s ‘Stomp The Bomb’. On these tracks, they don’t just stomp, but twist and shake with a whiskey-fuelled retro cool that should appeal to those who loved the Stray Cats, Polecats and The Jets back in 1981. If you’re approaching this hoping for a Meteors or Brains level of intensity, however, it’s very much time for you to step aside. The Squires are high energy, but in direct comparison to some of the scene’s more intense bands, accessible melodies are far more at the forefront here.

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SILVERBONES – Wild Waves

silverbones lpThe questionable waters of “pirate metal” will always be ruled by Germans Running Wild, a band who took their concept to extremes and churned out albums for years. One of them even came with a warning of “loud sound effects” on the sleeve…and true enough, there were cannon noises loud enough to cause harm to many an expensive speaker set up. Other bands have attempted to cash in similar themes, but few – with perhaps only Alestorm worthy of a mention – have come close to creating such shiver-me-timbers silliness with such fervour.

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