EXTRA ARMS – Up From Here

A concept record isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a band heavily influenced by Superchunk, The Replacements and various pieces from a pop-punk past. You probably wouldn’t expect a “divorce record” either – such things are often the province of the more introspective singer-songwriter – but that’s exactly where we find Ryan Allen and his Extra Arms at the close of 2019. An eight song outpouring, ‘Up From Here’ does a fabulous job of documenting Allen’s feelings and place within the world following a marriage split, but those who’ve enjoyed his previous works shouldn’t be concerned that this is too heavy going, as his thoughts are often coupled with some fabulous power pop and pop-punk arrangements.

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THE HALLINGTONS – Hexed EP

With regard to Ramonescore sounds, few bands do it as well as The Hallingtons. If you’re a pop-punk fan, they have the kind of back catalogue where you can drop in at any point and enjoyment is guaranteed, but with 2019’s ‘Hexed’ they’ve delivered a career best.

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MUSCLEGOOSE – 3 Ninjas: High Noon At Musclegoose Mountain

What would happen if you allowed the drummer from garage punk band Wirms a completely free rein to record whatever he wanted with some friends? You’d get a cassette of punk noise, showcasing a handful of songs that take a loose and childish inspiration from various film titles. …And he’d then decide that Musclegoose would make a fitting name.

Bonkers.

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HEMBREE AND THE SATAN SISTERS – F.Y.F. EP

Formed at the tail end of 2017, Hembree And The Satan Sisters was borne from frontman Zachary M. Hembree’s desires to record more punk oriented material. Teaming up with ex-members of Guff and Burns Like Fire, The Satan Sisters finds Hembree (ex Nuclear Blast signings Toro) opting for speed and crunch over traditional heaviness and their debut release is…immense. Packing nine tracks in under twenty minutes, the EP format suits the band extremely well, allowing their music to greet the listener with a genuine sucker punch.

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MEGA – Narcissistic Punk Rock Disorder

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.

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