Canadian pop heroes Dany Laj And The Looks have returned and the follow up to their insanely catchy single ‘Don’t Keep Me Guessing’ is a similarly infectious piece of retro pop.
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.
David Myhr’s second full length solo release (2018’s ‘Lucky Day’) presented a slightly more mature sound for the Swedish singer songwriter. The core of the record still showed off his power pop core – it was easily recognisable as the work of the man who gave the world the brilliant ‘Soundshine’ a couple of years earlier – but there were a couple of deviations into more acoustic-based material and a smoother sound. Despite being a little softer in places, the tunes worked just as well, showing a definite artistic growth as well as an influence from Josh Rouse producer Brad Jones.
The recording sessions were so fruitful that CD buyers were treated to a couple of uncredited bonus tracks. What’s more, a few other great songs were left on the shelf. The 2021 EP release ‘And Now This’ finally makes the remainder of the album sessions material available to all, and amazingly, all four tracks are every equal to the best bits of ‘Lucky Day’ itself.
One of the best things to happen during the early 10’s was the resurgence of AM radio styled pop music. For decades, bands like Electric Light Orchestra and Supertramp were considered hideously unfashionable, but in the ultimate example of “what comes around goes around” or perhaps “everything old is new again”, ELO somehow – and against the odds – became everyone’s favourite band. Pinpointing the instigator for this resurgeance in popularity for 70s pop is difficult, but it’s fair to say the very retro soundtrack for Guardians of The Galaxy may have been largely responsible. By 2019, the 70s pop wagon was rolling at full speed once more. No longer were The Feeling and a couple of bands on the Lojinx record label swimming against the tide.
Italian power poppers Radio Days waved goodbye to 2020 with an excellent three track release, ‘I Got A Love’, presenting two very sharp self-penned tunes and a spirited cover of The Jam’s ‘In The City’. Although bite-sized, the release gave fans everything they could hope for from a new Radio Days disc.