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.
Over the years, Austrian punks DeeCRACKS have often been a reliable source for good, honest, ragged street punk. Following the release of their ‘Call It A Day’ EP in 2013, the band have gone from strength to strength, but with its combination of straight up punky riffs, nods to 60s surf rock and occasional flirtation with something more commercial, their 2021 release ‘Serious Issues’ is easily one of their best LPs to date. In sixteen songs and less than half an hour, the band’s love of speed and directness is often at the forefront, but sharper songwriting and a few melodic twists also give the album a varied approach ensuring it never becomes stuck in a rut, or worse, sounds like “just another punk/Ramonescore album”. In punk terms, ‘Serious Issues’ is a bit special.
Goodbye Blue Monday’s third release, the ‘Misery Punk Ruined My Life’ EP, was one of 2018’s strongest DIY punk releases. Between a barrage of massive riffs and some thoughtful lyrics dealing with mental health issues, the Glaswegian band marked themselves out as one of the UK scene’s most intelligent acts.
Despite sterling support from Make That A Take Records and some very positive online press, things seemed to go quiet in the GBM camp a short time after. It wasn’t until 2020 any new material materialised, but a pair of digital singles (‘Love In The Time of Corona’ and ‘Exile’) made good on the promise of earlier recordings by way of musical crunch and more social commentary. A world grinding to a halt and a lack of social interaction enforced by a global pandemic also meant that fans would have to wait even longer for a brand new EP or album, but the band closed the first half of 2020 with a surprise acoustic EP to tide everyone over.
‘In-Cog-Neat-O’, the first full length release from US punks The Suck was a rough and ready release. Its collection of bratty sounding songs tore past at a breakneck pace, rarely clearing the two minute mark, and although the band didn’t sound particularly original, they more than demonstrated an easy knack for delivering fun. Two years on, their second album ‘Boris Sprinkler’ (inspired by 90s punks Boris The Sprinkler releasing an album called ‘Suck’) similarly cocks a snook at the concept of “full length” by banging through ten numbers in a shade over twenty minutes, but its fair to say that if you enjoyed previous fare from these guys – or enjoy the more ragged end of the Ramones obsessed punk scale in general – it’s brevity and urgency will more than add to its overall appeal. The quality of the song writing, on the other hand, can sometimes be a different matter. ‘Boris Sprinkler’ features The Suck’s best song to date (and by some distance), but unfortunately, it also contains two of their absolute worst.
It may come some nine years after The Riverboat Gamblers’ last full length album, and a lengthy five years since the release of their last 7” single, but this comeback disc from the Texan punks is everything fans could hope for. Not only does it capture the band combating a selection of great riffs at full pelt, but it comprises material that even a non-fan would recognise a mile off. It’s a win-win on all fronts.
As more than hinted at by the title, this release features the Gamblers turning their hands to covers by the legendary Ramones and the just as legendary Motorhead. Two bands that seem quite different, and yet, are great bedfellows due to their love of speed and simple, direct riffs.