LOCAL DRAGS – Shit’s Lookin’ Up

Local Drags have been called “The best power pop band from Springfield, Illinois”. Regardless of how much competition the band may or may not be up against, if your idea of power pop is still rooted in the 70s with Raspberries and Badfinger albums, with Cheap Trick’s ‘In Color’ and the early works of Nick Lowe, it might be time to move along…this album won’t necessarily fill your ears with the musical hit you crave. If, on the other hand, you enjoy basic power pop aesthetics mixed with an insanely huge dose of good old pop-punk, then ‘Shit’s Lookin’ Up’, will indeed, catch you off guard and deliver a dozen tunes that’ll perk up your day…and fairly quickly too.

Bringing together the talents of Lanny Durbin (sometime of Starter Jackets) and Matt Sailor (Mayor Sheriff) and produced by The Copyrights’ ‘Luke McNeill, it’s an album with a great pop-punk pedigree and, in the main, the kind of record that fans of The Copyrights, The Apers and Parasites will certainly take to their collective hearts.

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PLASTIC – Drink Sensibly EP

Before exploring any of the music on this release, let’s get one of the only negatives out of the way first: Plastic is not a very good band name. It’s a nightmare for search engine effectiveness and not especially memorable. Thankfully, Plastic are a great band and their 2019 EP ‘Drink Sensibly’ is an aural tour-de-force that fuses grungy elements with a punky sharpness, resulting in three tracks that sometimes sound like the work of a band fit to burst.

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THE FALL – The Fall Sound Archives, Vols 1 & 2: Live At The Witch Trials & Dragnet

Following Fall founder Mark E. Smith’s death in 2018, Cherry Red Records expanded and reissued the ‘50,000 Fall Fans…’ compilation, adding nineteen bonus tracks to bring it up to date, making it the most comprehensive Fall compilation ever. It was an ideal starting point for new listeners. News that there would be other Fall reissues in the future was met with keenness. The first of that reissue campaign – now dubbed “The Fall Sound” – goes right back to the beginning with expanded editions of 1978’s ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and 1979’s ‘Dragnet’.

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THE PEAWEES – Dead End City

Formed in the mid 90s as a punk outfit, The Peawees quickly established themselves as a band to look out for on the European scene. Over the next few years, they became musically stronger and eventually injected their sound with some good old rock ‘n’ roll attitude. A firm fan favourite, their third album ‘Dead End City’ was issued on Stardumb Records in 2001. The first pressing sold out in record time; a second pressing sold out very quickly and a vinyl reissue on Stardumb featuring bonus tracks was snapped up by eager fans, always keen for a Peawees fix. Although considered one of the band’s very best albums and a European punk classic, it took until 2019 for the album to gain a CD reissue and a US release…

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KING PRAWN – The Fabulous New Sounds Of King Prawn

If you were the kind of person that went to ska and punk gigs back in the late 90s, chances are you saw King Prawn. Chances are you saw the band a lot. There was a period when they seemed to support anyone and everyone. No matter how many times they appeared on a bill, though, they were always entertaining…and once seen, nobody could ever forget bassist Babar Luck’s distinctive presence.

The band split in 2003 but reformed nine years later without Luck. The idea of a King Prawn without him seemed odd at first, especially since he was such an integral part of the original band’s live show, but it was good to have them back. Showing off a more commercial side, King Prawn’s 2014 comeback single ‘Done Days’ was, in some ways, a lacklustre return to studio work, but five years on, the long-awaited full length ‘The Fabulous New Sounds of King Prawn’ is a marked improvement.

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