“Life has a way of pushing you away and turning you upside down” warns frontman Nick Lanari in one of the key lines of Summer Years’ current single ‘This Light’. His observation might seem like a warning, but the new track is anything but downbeat. In fact, it’s more of a paean to pushing through; an anthem for being the best you can be. It’s main refrain even offers a few words of advice we could all take to heart: “be yourself and you’ll get through.”
New Jersey’s FRND CRCL have been slowly making a name for themselves over the past couple of years, but their new single, ‘Complications’ is strong enough to bring them much wider attention. ‘Complications’ is a straight up slab of pop punk that calls back to the genre’s glory days of the late 90s/early 00s and takes cues from some of the greats.
Between 1996 and 2003, Baltimore punks Huntingtons churned out a string of pop punk and Ramonescore LPs that secured a cult audience. Although never as fondly remembered as some of the scene’s bigger names during that era, their talents for Ramones obsessed riffs were more than obvious and what they lacked in household name status was made up for with industry support. At an early stage in their career, they attracted the attention of Tooth & Nail Records and legendary producer Mass Giorgini of Squirtgun, Lillingtons and Screeching Weasel fame. They also shared stages with Teenage Bottlerocket, MxPx and several other pop punk greats.
During their early years, Cleveland pop punk/power pop trio Beatnik Termites were one of those bands that gained a cult following but never seemed to get their full dues. For most people, they will be best known for their contribution to the series of Ramones covers albums, which saw the trio covering Joey & Johnny’s 1981 platter ‘Pleasant Dreams’ in its entirety. It says a lot about the Termites’ relative lack of legacy – especially among UK punk fans – that even that release doesn’t get mentioned anywhere near as much as the Screeching Weasel, Queers, or even The Vinctives’ recordings for the same project. Make no mistake, though, Beatnik Termites are a good band, and their blend of punky power pop, bubblegum and surf rock often suggests they are more broadly talented as the scene’s biggest names. Just one listen to ‘Red Haired Girl’ (from their 2003 swansong ‘Girl Crazy!’) is proof enough. With its mix of Ramones riffs, tight harmonies and shameless barrage of handclaps, it offers a near perfect bubblegum/pop punk showcase in one neat two minute hit.
When billing as power pop punk, the new single from Toronto’s Talk Show Host might seem like an oxymoron, but in many ways, it’s a fairly accurate description. ‘Crisis Actors’ features the kind of buoyant vocals – and vocal filtering – you’ve come to expect from so much twenty first century pop punk, but musically, the track comes with much bigger boots.