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.
As labels like Burning Heart and Birdnest have proved, Sweden has been a hotbed of punk for years. Rather importantly, it has its own sound. Bands like No Fun At All and Millencolin share a common musical root with lots of the pop- and skatepunk bands from the US, but there’s something unique in the way the Swedes approach their art…and it goes deeper than a mere accent on a vocal.
After a slew of 7”s, a couple EPs and three albums, Germany’s Neon Bone have had a long time to perfect their brand of pop punk. On their fourth full length, ‘That Dog Won’t Hunt’, they’ve not quite turned in the perfect pop punk record (the benchmarks set some, including the Ramones’ ‘Leave Home’ and The Apers’ ‘Confetti On The Floor’ are hard to beat, to be fair), but bringing things closer to home, it’s easily be the best Neon Bone offering so far. In fact, it’s bloody great.
Do you like buzz-saw guitar sounds and supercharged riffs? Are you ready for something that sounds like a cross between Fast Cars and The Hives? Then you love The Cavemen.
We live in an age where music feels ever more disposable. Bands no longer have the luxury of multi-album contracts to hone their style and with streaming services all the rage, “the album as an art form” is dying. The very idea that Shonen Knife have endured for decades is fascinating. Since the release of their debut album back in the 80s, countless bands have formed, recorded, toured, disbanded…but the Japanese pop-punk/bubblegum power pop band have genuinely gone the distance. They’ve had line up changes – aside from ZZ Top, who hasn’t? – but they’re still with us and on the basis of tonight’s show in Ramsgate, they’re better than ever.
Perhaps part of the appeal of tonight’s show lies with the venue itself. With a capacity of under 150, the Ramsgate Music Hall is the very definition of intimate and it allows an opportunity to witness bands up close. Really, really up close. When Shonen Knife take the stage, there’s immediately a feeling that tonight will be special.