Japan has always had a liking of Ramones styled punk-pop. Perhaps their most famous export are Fat Wreck signings Hi-Standard, whom despite their love of dog poo, Elvis suits and heavy accents, could musically rival any of their US counterparts. Formed in 2012, Tokyo’s Nerdy Jugheads are every bit as good – though perhaps not quite as bonkers – and as their name suggests, at least one band member has an obsession with Screeching Weasel, a band to whom they pay homage more than any other.
On their 2012 mini-album ‘May The Force Be With You’, Italian punks Mega blend hooky choruses with a garage rock charm. Whereas their label-mates The Snookys focus their garage chops on upbeat rock ‘n’ roll, these eight tracks show the Milan-based four piece to have a bigger fixation with the Ramones. The raw sound of these recordings, however, ensures there’s always a stronger DIY element compared to the results from your average Ramonescore outfit, particularly in relation to many of their US counterparts.
The legendary CJ Ramone will be heading out on a run of US live dates in June. The shows are co-headlined by Japan’s Shonen Knife. All confirmed dates are listed below.
Italy isn’t short of great punk rock bands. The Manges have gained a big cult following with their Ramones-obsessed schtick, enough to secure them a US released split with the legendary Queers; Killtime do almost as good a job at being Screeching Weasel than the Weasel themselves; then in addition to those who’ve broken through to the US, there’s a whole scene of hardcore bands… Hailing from Piacenza, The Nuts are another Italian band on which to keep a very close eye. The three piece band are yet another outfit that take four chords and an unhealthy obsession with Joey & Johnny, but like so many others borrowing from such a timeless source, the results are absolutely first rate. On their 2014 EP they capture four lightning bolts of punk guaranteed to please.
Second only to a great punk compilation, split releases are a great way to discover work by new bands, or else bands that might have slipped under your radar. This particular split release is a great primer for two acts who fit firmly under the Ramones-core banner, both geographically opposed but united in their love of simple and direct punk-pop. Issued via Swamp Cabbage Records (home to Caffiends, Up For Nothing and Gnarly Whales), the ‘Smile of the Tiger’ EP brings four fantastic previously unreleased tracks from Austria’s DeeCracks and Eastcoast US punks The New Rochelles.