HARD TIMES – Little Satan EP

Coming out of a pandemic lockdown and determined to make some noise, five guys from Europe hit upon a new musical idea. Members of punk band Suicide Generation teamed up with guys from Desperate Fun and Lysergics and took a musical detour. Hard Times was born with the idea of casting aside their punky pasts, and instead paying homage to glam rock, sleaze rock, and even the proto-glam rock ‘n’ roll of New York Dolls. It is a job that their debut EP ‘Little Satan’ does brilliantly in its own no-frills and semi lo-fi way.

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J PROZAC – Won’t Let Go

When J Prozac released the ‘Building Blocks’ single in January 2022, it felt as if the punk musician was on the cusp of releasing some of the best music of his career. In a little over two minutes, that track made old school pop punk sound vital again thanks to some classic sounding riffs and a massive chorus that the likes of The Mr T Experience would have taken to glory in their 90s prime. Even J’s slightly gruff voice couldn’t keep the track’s bubblegum-ish traits in check, and overall, it supplied big thrills in such a way that proved classic pop punk will never die.

Its parent album ‘Won’t Let Go’ very much delivers on that track’s huge promise, but isn’t necessarily the straight up punk record that fans are expecting. Within its eleven songs, Prozac steers through punk and pop punk moods with ease, takes in some ragged heartland rock, and has even been unafraid to chuck in a ballad. It might make the album seem a little more scattershot to an outsider, but nothing could be further from the truth. With the help of massive hook after massive hook, J hits the mark pretty much every time – and there are even instances where the material is great enough to rival ‘Building Blocks’ in terms of that all important memorability factor.

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THE RUMJACKS / FLATFOOT 56 – Split EP

Split EPs are often a good way to discover a couple of new bands, and with six songs presented in a no-frills manner, this shared release between Celtic punks The Rumjacks and Flatfoot 96 is no exception. Both bands take a relatively straight, no nonsense approach to their subgenre, and that means that – in the main – most people will either love or hate them.

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THE HALLINGTONS – Hop Til’ You Drop

Between 2013 and 2019, The Hallingtons released a string of EPs that slowly found them perfecting their own homage to Ramones. Hundreds of bands had recorded in a similar style before, but few had managed to capture the early sounds from Joey and Johnny quite as perfectly as The Hallingtons’ ‘Hexed’, proving the world was more than ready for the Norwegian punks to deliver a full length musical assault.

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DAS KAPITANS – That’ll Do Pig! / Council Pop

In February 2022, Das Kapitans released their double A-sided single ‘Big Muff’/’MTV’. This was the first new material from the UK noise rock/indie punkers since winding up their ambitious twelve albums in twelve months project, but the new tracks showed anything but a slowing down in terms of creativity. ‘Big Muff’, in particular, showed more than enough evidence that the band would be bringing even weightier riffs in the near future.

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