Justine And The Unclean – Heartaches & Hot Problems

In 2017, Justine and The Unclean made an impact on the power pop and pop-punk scenes with their debut release ‘Get Unclean’. The album didn’t especially break new ground, but between its instant hooks and Justine Covault’s sassy vocals, it didn’t take long for the songs to stick. The album also showed a strong musical talent in mixing bits of punk, power pop, classic rock and even the occasional metal riff together, creating something very potent.

Utilising the “mini album” format – a very 80s trait, but it was good enough for Billy Bragg and it certainly works for Justine – ‘Heartaches & Hot Problems’ values quality over quantity at just six songs and, as you’d hope, there are at least a couple of killer hooks to be found within the all too spritely seventeen minutes.

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BLACK HEART BREAKERS – Rotting Out EP

Formed in 2014, things seemed to come together quickly for Australia’s Black Heart Breakers. Within the first few years of their existence, the punk/punk ‘n’ roll quartet had already opened for punk royalty Marky Ramone, Ruts DC and Stiff Little Fingers. Such good fortune allowed the band to fly halfway across the world to record their 2018 EP at the legendary Blasting Room studios, owned by Descendents’ Bill Stevenson. So much material to come from that studio has a great, full sound and ‘Rotting Out’ is no exception. Given the place of its recording, it might not be a complete coincidence that the EP shares its name with a Descendents track, though perhaps no further connections should be sought.

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FOREVER UNCLEAN – Woof EP

Mixing skate punk, pop punk, melodic hardcore and scratchy 80s indie, Denmark’s Forever Unclean delve into a melting pot of sounds that can turn on a sixpence. It’s will full credit to the band that such a varied sound works as well as it does; if any of the musicians were in any way slack, the tunes on their 2018 EP ‘Woof’ could fall apart in an instant.

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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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GOODBYE BLUE MONDAY – Misery-Punk Ruined My Life EP

Glasgow’s Goodbye Blue Monday make no attempt to disguise their geographic origins. Even though a good proportion of the vocals on their 2018 EP ‘Misery-Punk Ruined My Life’ are of the group/gang shouty variety, there are lots of times where a heavy accent can still be heard. Although their brand of street punk – or “misery punk” as they bill themselves – already attempts to be of a forthright nature, this only gives the material an extra feeling of urgency. This, their third release, features three songs that despite the misery punk tag are actually really rousing.

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