HEMBREE AND THE SATAN SISTERS – F.Y.F. EP

Formed at the tail end of 2017, Hembree And The Satan Sisters was borne from frontman Zachary M. Hembree’s desires to record more punk oriented material. Teaming up with ex-members of Guff and Burns Like Fire, The Satan Sisters finds Hembree (ex Nuclear Blast signings Toro) opting for speed and crunch over traditional heaviness and their debut release is…immense. Packing nine tracks in under twenty minutes, the EP format suits the band extremely well, allowing their music to greet the listener with a genuine sucker punch.

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MEGA – Narcissistic Punk Rock Disorder

When Italian punks Mega released ‘May The Force Be With You’ in 2015, they put themselves on the Euro punk map. The recording was a little rough and ready, but the potential was clear for all to hear. Although they weren’t exactly famous outside of their home country at the time of release, that record opened them up to a broader fan base – partly due to having Star Wars themed material – and it showed off a band who could be every bit as good as The Apers and Manges.

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FANGZ – For Nothing EP

Although sometimes closer to trashy hard rock than straight punk or pop punk, this debut EP from Sydney’s self-proclaimed “party punks” is the kind of recording that grabs the attention straight away, regardless of genre preference. With a primary goal (in the band’s own words) of “getting people to drink beer and do backflips in mosh pits”, there’s always got an interest in stoking up good times, so you might expect something tossed off and frivolous…but the reality is far more complex. Digging deeper into the songs themselves, ‘For Nothing’ is the kind of debut that shows off a band that understands the benefits of a strong arrangement. Nothing here feels hacked out or too simple and yet the songs still value the kind of directness that’s capable of pulling in the listener from the very first spin.

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THE COPYRIGHTS / KEPI GHOULIE – Welcome Observation EP (split release)

At the beginning of 2019, two forces of pop-punk came together when Kepi Ghoulie (previously of The Groovie Ghoulies) recorded with The Copyrights for a joint full length album. ‘Re-Animation Festival’ was a complete re-recording of the Ghoulies’ classic 1997 LP of the same name…and it more than showed how, over the intervening years, Kepi had retained his status as one of the true kings of cartoon pop-punk. Just as importantly, although in a slightly different format, it put a great set of songs back on catalogue for a new generation of could-be, should-be fans. For those who loved that disc, this companion split 7” should also be considered an important collection filler.  Its four previously unavailable tracks put a new spin on the collaboration: as well as offering one new song apiece, The Copyrights cover one of the old Groovie Ghoulies classics and Kepi puts his own spin on something from The Copyrights’ catalogue.

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LATTE+ – Next To Ruin

Two years on from their ‘No More Than Three Chords‘ album, Italian punks Latte+ returned with ‘Stitches’, an album that captured the band’s supercharged Ramonescore sound in a slightly more polished way. Despite a better final mix, the band’s sense of speed and guts still dominated and in songs like ‘Everyone Listens To The Ramones Even My Mom’, the Screeching Weasel-tastic ‘Darkness Inside Your Heart’ and the melodic punk punch of ‘Another Sleepless Night’, they managed to show off the complete range of their always improving sound. It seemed like an album that would break them outside of their home country, but despite such a strong effort, Latte+ (always pronounced “LattePiu”) still seemed destined to be found lurking somewhere within the ranks of dozens of other Europunks and not mentioned in the same breath as Screeching Weasel, Dan Vapid and Teen Idols.

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