THE VAPIDS – Teenage Heads

The idea of a punk band covering an entire album is hardly a new phenomenon. In the 90s, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, The Vindictives and Mr. T Experience recorded their own fairly faithful versions of the first four Ramones albums. Thinking a little more broadly, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes thrilled the masses with their themed albums and pop punk heroes MxPx punked up material as diverse as Bryan Adams, Dave Alvin and The Proclaimers on their ‘Cover To Cover’ releases. Yes, indeed… The “punk cover” has become a staple of the scene.

The ubiquity of the punk cover doesn’t stop this album by Ontario punks The Vapids being hugely entertaining. With half the punk world wanting to pay tribute (either directly or indirectly) to Joey and Johnny’s groundbreaking blueprint, it is somewhat refreshing that these Canadian punks would want to pay homage to their own home grown heroes, and so, ‘Teenage Heads’ – originally released in 2002 – finds the band hammering through the ten numbers from Teenage Head’s self titled debut LP from ’79.

Continue reading

SUNNYDALES – The Pack EP

California’s Sunnydales might just represent the ultimate collision of Ramones influenced pop punk and retro pop culture. This three piece band take a well worn musical blueprint and apply their love of Joey and Johnny with a bigger love of 90s television hit Buffy The Vampire Slayer. You might think such a concept might be good for one release, but this second EP (released in May 2019) is every bit as good as their debut from the previous year.

Continue reading

PAVID VERMIN – Cutting Corners

Glenn Robinson is one of the great purveyors of Ramones influenced punk sounds. The Rhode Island musician was previously the drummer with The Prozacs but subsequently used his multi-instrumentalist’s skills to carve out a solo career. Each of his releases offers something to enjoy, but this third album by his “band project” Pavid Vermin (where Robinson plays everything) has the potential to be one of his best. What’s more, ‘Cutting Corners’ isn’t quite everything it appears to be on the surface. A quick look at the track listing suggests a punky romp through the songs from The Beatles’ classic ‘Abbey Road’, but behind the familiar titles lie seventeen of the purest, self-penned pop punk bangers, guaranteed to thrill fans of the style. Titles aside, no further credit goes to Lennon/McCartney.

Continue reading

RADIO BLAST – In Your Face! EP

New York punks Radio Blast are one of those bands that wear their influences proudly. Not only does their brand of timeless pop punk owe a huge debt to the sounds made by Ramones back in the 70s, but almost everything they do suggests a massive love of Screeching Weasel. Their band name comes from one of Ben Weasel’s most classic songs; the artwork used their 2019 EP ‘Let’s Rock’ that bears a striking resemblance to the first edition of SW’s ‘My Brain Hurts’ and even the slightly off key backing vocals on that EP’s ‘Teenage Crush’ could’ve been directly inspired by any number of Weasel songs. What this means, of course, is that fans of the genre know exactly what they’re in for…and Radio Blast are yet another great band in a very long line of Ramonescore acts that value catchy hooks at almost every turn.

Continue reading

STINKING POLECATS – Stinking Polecats EP

After spending years fronting Ramones obsessives Tough, bassist Chris Polecat revived The Stinking Polecats. It was an unlikely move, given that Tough had gained some really positive press and the Polecats had been away for fifteen years – more than your average hiatus. But like so many good punk bands, those fifteen years might as well just have been two or three, since upon their return, the band merely picked up where they’d left off and sounded as good as ever.

Continue reading