NE’ER DO WELL – Fun Days EP

Described as Motley Crue meets Fall Out Boy, Ne’er Do Well is a project helmed by singer/songwriter Bryan Rolli. This debut EP is a superb showcase of a versatile one man band, dropping massive chorus hooks against a variety of equally massive riffs, on a short rollercoaster journey that never sells the listener short when it comes to excitement. Granted, a lot of Rolli’s influences are laid on with a trowel, but it’s what he does with those that counts, and this release makes a lot of familiar sounds feel really sparky. What’s more, it’s always clear that the performer really believes in the material.

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BABY GOT BACK TALK – Existential Shred EP

On their second release, 2018’s ‘Up In Open Arms’, New York’s Baby Got Back Talk showed themselves as being smarter than your average pop punk band. By trading in the usual juvenile humour for a socially conscious lyrical output and applying their messages to a musical backdrop that mixed the punky elements with a dose of emo, pop and occasional ska inflected basslines, the release covered a lot of ground in a very short time, and in a very mature way. Its use of vocal filters wouldn’t have suited everyone, but in terms of riffs and hooks, it was clear that this young band had a lot going in their favour.

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SUMMER YEARS – You Can’t Live There Forever EP

San Diego’s Summer Years first appeared on the collective radar of pop punk fans in the summer of 2021 when the video for their debut single ‘This Light’ premiered on YouTube. In barely three minutes, that track – and its accompanying visuals – presented the young band, not only as great players, but also one keen to share an important message.

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RONX – Retrograde EP

Hailing from The Bronx, NY, Ronx bill themselves as a pop punk band influenced by blink-182. Their output is actually far more varied than that, though, and – in ways both good and bad – their 2022 EP ‘Retrograde’ actually presents three tracks that sound like the work of three different bands. Fans of straight up pop punk will discover an instant banger; those with an emo heart will unveil a tune with a fine melodic angst and an important message, and – for their third instalment – Ronx reach deep for a slab of rhythmic pop that it’s hard to imagine any of their pop punk or emo-centric audience will ever truly love. Chances are, they won’t even like it.

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PIERCE FROLIC – Zinnia EP

Like a lot of people, Pierce Frolic turned to music as an escape from the heavier aspects of life. It was something he truly needed, since he struggled through school and, in his own words, “crashed out of college”, survived an automobile accident, ended up hospitalised through other misadventures and found himself surrounded by death. With friends having committed suicide or having their lives cut short through accidents, a dark world got even darker. With all of that in mind, it’s no wonder his debut release ‘Zinnia’ is obsessed with mortality.

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