Formed in 2014, things seemed to come together quickly for Australia’s Black Heart Breakers. Within the first few years of their existence, the punk/punk ‘n’ roll quartet had already opened for punk royalty Marky Ramone, Ruts DC and Stiff Little Fingers. Such good fortune allowed the band to fly halfway across the world to record their 2018 EP at the legendary Blasting Room studios, owned by Descendents’ Bill Stevenson. So much material to come from that studio has a great, full sound and ‘Rotting Out’ is no exception. Given the place of its recording, it might not be a complete coincidence that the EP shares its name with a Descendents track, though perhaps no further connections should be sought.
Back in the 90s, Rhino Records released two compilations celebrating the birth and subsequent explosion of power pop in the US between 1975-1981. Entitled ‘Come Out & Play (American Power Pop 1975-1978)’ and ‘Shake It Up (American Power Pop 1979-1981)’, those discs are an invaluable addition to any power pop collection, introducing many to the works of Pearl Harbor & The Explosions, 20/20 and Earth Quake, alongside more familiar cult recordings by Shoes, Off Broadway, Cheap Trick, Chris Bell and far more besides.
‘Harmony In My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-1981’, a 2018 box set from Cherry Red Records exploring the UK power pop and new wave scenes, is every bit as wonderful as those US-centric discs, presenting the popular and familiar alongside some also-rans and bands whom never made the big time.
Mixing skate punk, pop punk, melodic hardcore and scratchy 80s indie, Denmark’s Forever Unclean delve into a melting pot of sounds that can turn on a sixpence. It’s will full credit to the band that such a varied sound works as well as it does; if any of the musicians were in any way slack, the tunes on their 2018 EP ‘Woof’ could fall apart in an instant.
The Run Up are five friends from Bristol, always ready to bring the world big riffs and bigger choruses. Their brand of pop-punk is tougher than most, but within the riffs comes a fantastic sense of all things melodic, always allowing great hooks to catch the listener. Their debut album, a self-titled affair from 2017, presented a solid half hour’s worth of material but, if anything, this follow up EP is even better. The short format suggests the band have really streamlined their approach and decided to only share the very best tracks this time around.
Returning from a three year hiatus, Scottish pop punkers Uniforms present quality over quantity on their comeback release ‘Reasons To Breathe’. Its three songs tap into a tough retro punk style, but beneath a gruff and wobbly vocal, you’ll find decent tunes that somehow occupy a space between Swingin’ Utters, Rancid and The Skids, resulting in a sound that has a tight, ringing guitar at almost every turn.