With bands like No Fun At All and Millencolin helping to fly the flag and carry the banner, Sweden has provided plenty of pop punk protein since the 90s. The Hangups follow very much in the tradition of the classic Lookout! Records releases; in fact, this Malmo based trio sound like a product of a time machine experiment to bring back the best bits of Screeching Weasel and Parasites records for their debut EP.

The opening track on this self-titled disc wastes no time in flaunting their love of those particular bands. The whole number really shows a love for Dave Parasite’s melodic charm circa ‘Punch Lines’, while peppering each of the instrumental breaks with a lead guitar that would do Ben Weasel and the more approachable John Jughead proud. Digging a little deeper, obviously the vocal comes with a slight European accent which, much like Hateful Monday, provides some of the charm, but in terms of structure these guys aren’t merely just recycling Ramonescore by the (1-2-3-4) numbers. The chorus, in particular, is impressive showing a slight power pop tendency that might just about reel in a slightly broader audience. In short, if you like pop punk, you’ll love this track – it’s the perfect addition to your next digital mixtape or online playlist.

‘I Don’t Wanna Be With You’, on the other hand, is a straight up Ramones homage, just played more aggressively. In under two minutes, this shows that these Swedes are able to completely nail the style in hand; it also demonstrates their unnamed drummer really knows his way around his kit. The chorus is both sneering and insanely catchy; the lead guitar break casts an ear back to ‘My Brain Hurts’ era Weasel and the sheer energy alone is enough to make this enjoyable. Moving into something a little longer – though still shy of three minutes – ‘Alone’ mixes a punchier, more jagged rhythm with a hugely melodic vocal line. Having used a couple of numbers to warm up, it’s here The Hangups go for broke punctuating most lines with a hefty “whoah” or trusted “oh yeah!”. There are ghosts of so many classic Lookout! bands within the DNA and yet a combination of talent and boundless enthusiasm ensures this sounds anything but stale.

Last up, ‘It’s You’ is an eighty five second belter that is impossible to dislike – provided you’re punkily inclined, of course – and The Hangups take all of their previous traits and pummel them into something a touch more aggressive. While still very much of their own making – something recognisable through the accented voice – their love of pop punk again tips the hat to Screeching Weasel, but also harks back to the faster and more affronting tracks from the earlier part of No Fun At All’s catalogue (something probably ingrained due to geography). Although there’s not much time to sink your teeth in to this track – or indeed, the whole EP – there’s time enough to appreciate Hugo’s deep rattle of a bass and especially the way it locks in firmly with the work of the mystery snare basher.

Obviously, the vinyl version is the best format, but digital buyers get an extra track, ‘Not OK’. There’s little to be said, except that it ploughs a similar furrow to ‘I Don’t Wanna Be With You’ that brings a combination of speed and well worth having…

For fans of Ramonescore sounds, this is an EP that deserves to be in heavy rotation. Yes, it’s short – too short – but there’s a whole world of fun to be had listening and the band’s love for the style creeps through every note. In short, if you love Screeching Weasel, The Apers, Radio Buzzkills, Parasites and/or K7s, you’ll have a new favourite to add to your collection. Grab it as soon as possible.

March 2018


Chicago’s Speed Babes have released several DIY records since 2015 – two full lengths and a staggering five EPs, to be precise – very much taking the Robert Pollard inspired route of capturing the moment. Sometimes the energy of a performance can be more important than perfection.

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K7s – Take 1

What would happen if you took a member of the Bullet Proof Lovers, a member of Spanish punkers Los Reactivos and a member of the Spanish band Airbag and set them to work in the recording studio? You’d end up with K7s, one of the finest pop punk outfits to release an album since the genre’s glory days of the 1990s. Yes, the K7s’ debut is that good…and in in almost every way. It’s hugely indebted to days gone by when pop punk meant pop punk and not whiny music with an overdriven guitar riff, but that’s every reason why it’s great. Continue reading

THE WIRMS – Dig These Four Songs With The Wirms EP

Self confessed “manic punk” duo The Wirms hail from the Ozark region of the US. To the outsider, that might not seem like the very epicentre of punk, but back in the 90s, the Ozarks spawned it’s own underground scene. [The DIY nature of punk always allows for scenes to spring up anywhere. Aberdeen, WA is in the middle of nowhere…and just look what happened there!]

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The Radio Buzzkills’ 2016 EP ‘The Quick & The Cheap’ was so named for very good reason. It contained some fun material and wore a love of Screeching Weasel shamelessly upon its sleeve in places, but as punk releases go, it was indeed created on the cheap…and very quickly. Everyone has to have something from which they can build, though, and the release and the band caught the attention of the legendary Dave Parasite who agreed to produce their next full length.

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