When Italian punks Mega released ‘May The Force Be With You’ in 2015, they put themselves on the Euro punk map. The recording was a little rough and ready, but the potential was clear for all to hear. Although they weren’t exactly famous outside of their home country at the time of release, that record opened them up to a broader fan base – partly due to having Star Wars themed material – and it showed off a band who could be every bit as good as The Apers and Manges.
At the beginning of 2019, two forces of pop-punk came together when Kepi Ghoulie (previously of The Groovie Ghoulies) recorded with The Copyrights for a joint full length album. ‘Re-Animation Festival’ was a complete re-recording of the Ghoulies’ classic 1997 LP of the same name…and it more than showed how, over the intervening years, Kepi had retained his status as one of the true kings of cartoon pop-punk. Just as importantly, although in a slightly different format, it put a great set of songs back on catalogue for a new generation of could-be, should-be fans. For those who loved that disc, this companion split 7” should also be considered an important collection filler. Its four previously unavailable tracks put a new spin on the collaboration: as well as offering one new song apiece, The Copyrights cover one of the old Groovie Ghoulies classics and Kepi puts his own spin on something from The Copyrights’ catalogue.
Two years on from their ‘No More Than Three Chords‘ album, Italian punks Latte+ returned with ‘Stitches’, an album that captured the band’s supercharged Ramonescore sound in a slightly more polished way. Despite a better final mix, the band’s sense of speed and guts still dominated and in songs like ‘Everyone Listens To The Ramones Even My Mom’, the Screeching Weasel-tastic ‘Darkness Inside Your Heart’ and the melodic punk punch of ‘Another Sleepless Night’, they managed to show off the complete range of their always improving sound. It seemed like an album that would break them outside of their home country, but despite such a strong effort, Latte+ (always pronounced “LattePiu”) still seemed destined to be found lurking somewhere within the ranks of dozens of other Europunks and not mentioned in the same breath as Screeching Weasel, Dan Vapid and Teen Idols.
Local Drags have been called “The best power pop band from Springfield, Illinois”. Regardless of how much competition the band may or may not be up against, if your idea of power pop is still rooted in the 70s with Raspberries and Badfinger albums, with Cheap Trick’s ‘In Color’ and the early works of Nick Lowe, it might be time to move along…this album won’t necessarily fill your ears with the musical hit you crave. If, on the other hand, you enjoy basic power pop aesthetics mixed with an insanely huge dose of good old pop-punk, then ‘Shit’s Lookin’ Up’, will indeed, catch you off guard and deliver a dozen tunes that’ll perk up your day…and fairly quickly too.
Bringing together the talents of Lanny Durbin (sometime of Starter Jackets) and Matt Sailor (Mayor Sheriff) and produced by The Copyrights’ ‘Luke McNeill, it’s an album with a great pop-punk pedigree and, in the main, the kind of record that fans of The Copyrights, The Apers and Parasites will certainly take to their collective hearts.
At the beginning of 2018, St. Louis punkers released ‘Get Fired!’, a fully formed pop-punk masterpiece that applied the band’s usual spiky style to some great choruses. The disc was so popular, the first pressing sold out in quick time and a repress was also quickly snapped up. It even managed to get the expanded deluxe treatment; the addition of various period rarities to an already great disc made the reissue a must-have for any self-respecting punk fan. Given that ‘Get Fired!’ was so well received, The Buzzkills could’ve followed it with more of the same, but instead – perhaps wisely – realised that anything too similar would run the risk of coming up short, so instead, they chose to take a musical side-step…