Caffeinds’ 2014 release, the ‘HeeBee GB’s EP’, was an unpolished affair, but there was no denying it was a recording made with love. It was rough and ready, as you’d expect something DIY to be, but above all, it was fun. It didn’t get a lot of attention within punk circles (certainly not on a big scale at any rate), but that didn’t stop the band trucking on. That same year’s full length release blended influences from Screeching Weasel and the Misfits in such a way that you couldn’t help but like it – warts ‘n’ all – while 2015’s ‘No Gods, No Decaf’, with an increased recording budget and a bratty attitude, was their best work to date. With each release, it’s been possible to hear Caffeinds making a necessary leap forward.
Every week, new bands surface playing homage to the Ramones, The Queers and their ilk, and about once a month, you’ll probably find one good enough to add to your regular punk playlist. Such is the case with Moratones, a Spanish take on classic pop punk themes. On this EP release, their music is played with such authenticity that, within about a minute, you’ll completely forget that the vocals are all in Spanish and just get swept along with the band’s general love for the style.
Italian punks Tough [not to be confused with Poison wannabes, glam rockers Tuff] first appeared in the mid-noughties from which point they kept themselves busy knocking out material on various DIY labels. In addition to various split 7”s, by 2013 they had four albums under their collective belt and had increased their following with each passing year. Their 2014 EP ‘Obey The Ramones’ might just be their best to date, its four high energy numbers presenting the best in melodic punk.
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.