THE RIZZOS / TOP NACHOS – Split EP

Bringing together four unreleased tunes by The Rizzos and Top Nachos, this split release from King Pizza Records is a fine DIY recording. Split releases are a good way of introducing people to new bands and for Top Nachos the opportunity to appear alongside The Rizzos is definitely a chance for the Queens-based, self-proclaimed “silly-core” band to build upon their following. For extant fans of The Rizzos, of course, a purchase of this release will be a no-brainer. It has something a bittersweet feel, too, presenting both an end and a beginning: the Rizzos’ tracks are the last to feature drummer and founding member Bettina Warshaw while, for most listeners, the release will provide a first time exposure to the rather juvenile world of Top Nachos and their occasional cardboard headgear, fascination with junk food and unfashionable facial hair.

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POTTER’S DAUGHTER – Casually Containing Rage EP

The debut album from Potter’s Daughter presented some great jazz sounds. Between a heavy piano and a confident upright bass, the record’s best tunes recalled bits of Dave Grusin and other GRP label heavyweights, as well as hinting at a retro sound fully explored by Stanton Moore on his ‘Conversations’ album from 2014. Although ostensibly a jazz/fusion record, the presence of fuzzy electric guitars stepping forth for the odd solo or three and a huge focus on floaty, harmonic vocals lent the arrangements something more amenable to the more adventurous prog fan. The album led to the band being invited to play at various festivals throughout 2020, but the world had other plans.

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MO TROPER – Revolver

His name may not be instantly familiar, but singer songwriter Mo Troper has a fairly sizeable back catalogue. He began cranking out fuzzy indie and power pop tunes in 2016 and has gradually built a cult audience. Mo’s debut full length ‘Beloved’ is brilliant. Although very much the kind of record aimed at listeners who still feel nostalgic for Superchunk and reach for Guided By Voices’ ‘Isolation Drills’ on a regular basis, its peppering of stronger melodies could also call to mind the kind of tunefulness the younger Brendan Benson might’ve enjoyed when in a noisier mood. Each of Troper’s further releases work a similar fashion, each with a slightly more commercial angle (‘Freebin’ from 2017’s ‘Exposure & Response’, especially, has the feel of something that could lapse into an old Teenage Fanclub tune, and the whole of 2020’s ‘Natural Beauty finds Troper in full on home-recorded, yet clean power pop mode), but whatever the outcome, the performer’s DIY heart can always be heard beating furiously. In terms of retro cool, he has the potential to be remembered as one of the greats.

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BLESS THE DEAD – Overdue Lies EP

Following the release of a couple of EP’s, Bless The Dead’s full length release ‘The Boars Nest’ (Sliptrick Records, 2018) cemented their reputation as a growing force within the world of groove metal. Taking cues from Pantera and Lamb of God, the record wasn’t particularly original, but what it did, it did brilliantly. In approximately half an hour, it showcased a riff-centric band ready to bring their brand of metal to the masses. In an ideal world it very much needed a timely follow up to really gain traction – supplying something of a massive one-two punch – but it would take almost three years for the band to deliver their next studio recordings.

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HUNTINGTONS – Judy Judy EP

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.

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