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Pop Punk

The Unbranded penned a riotous alt-90s love letter with ‘Novacaine’

If you’ve ever wondered what Dinosaur Jr would sound like with a bigger and louder sonic stature, find the answer in the high-octane riotous love letter to the alt-90s, penned through The Unbranded’s hit single Novacaine.

Once you let the impaled-with pop-punk-hooks earworm in, don’t expect it to depart any time soon. As the kinetically infectious chord progressions subjugate your rhythmic pulses into submission, the augmented-with-charisma vocal lines draw you further into the centre of the frenetic epitome of rebellion which spits in the face of anyone who wants to shunt people who don’t fit the mould of banality to the sidelines.

The track is a clarion call to all the outliers looking for permission to transform their idiosyncrasies into fuel for their empowered fire. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Social Distortion, The Unbranded and their motivation to inject spiritual awakenings into their music are an essential listen; just one hit, and you’ll want to join them at the vanguard as they smash down toxic social constructions.

Novacaine was officially released on March 15; stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jenna Louise started a riot of affectionate fervour in her pop-rock hit, You’re Still the One

Harmonising in the middle ground between Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and Paramore, Jenna Louise’s latest fire-branded pop-punk anthem, You’re Still the One, is a riot of affectionate fervour, which proves that few people love harder or are as uninhibited with their candour as the UK-based singer-songwriter.

Released ahead of her debut LP, My Journey, which had been five years in the making before its launch on March 4th, You’re Still the One is the perfect introduction to Jenna Louise’s hook-rife sonic signature that will be scribing through your mind for long after the high-octane hit has faded to a close following the augmented magnetic energy that she keeps a tight rhythmic leash on throughout the production.

The Springsteen-esque riffs that frequently decorate the track with rock-licked euphoria tie the earworm together and bring even more power to the release which reveres romantic connections that prove even after you’ve weathered storms and hit the rocks, passion doesn’t need to falter.

You’re Still the One is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

brx – Not Sorry!: An Acoustic Punk Anthem for the Disenchanted

Brooks Oliver, known musically as brx, has carved a niche in the punk rock scene with his latest single, ‘Not Sorry!‘. This track, a standout from his upcoming home studio album “It’s Pronounced Brooks“, is set to resonate with fans of The Quireboys and the Dogs D’amour, while also appealing to a broader audience of rock enthusiasts.

‘Not Sorry!’ is a raw, unapologetic anthem that captures the essence of punk. The gruff, punk-pierced vocal lines, laid over simple acoustic guitar chord structures, reach the epitome of the genre.

Lyrically, brx delves into themes of nihilistic misanthropy, articulating a sentiment of frustration and defiance that’s palpable in every line. It’s more than just a cathartic release; it’s a potent source of vindication for anyone tired of suffering under the weight of societal expectations and the frustration of the balance of inauthentic and idiotic interactions.

Stream Not Sorry! on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rookie – Resolve: A Volition-Charged Resurgence of Emo-Tinged Post-Grunge

Familiar enough to give you a sonic slice of déjà vu, fresh enough to leave you exhilarated by the trailblazingly emo-tinged post-grunge revival, the latest alt-90s single from the Italian renegades of scuzz, Rookie, is an anthem for the ennui-inclined that will leave you inclined to push your speakers to their limits.

Everything about the augmentation of hook-laden lament compels you to feel the full visceral force of the deliciously distorted earworm, which doesn’t just burrow down into your psyche; it bares its teeth and refuses to let go.

Fans of Jawbreaker, The Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jr won’t want to miss out on Resolve, which was released after a lengthy hiatus Rookie used to hone the volition in their sound. Now that the power trio is back in the studio recording their new EP, SHELTER, with Matteo Tabacco, they’re more than worth a spot on your radar.

Add Resolve to your Spotify playlists.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Synthpop meets pop-punk in Crashes’ elementally augmented anthem, Living in the Future

Crashes may be ‘Living in the Future’ in their latest single, but there are plenty of ties to sonic nostalgia in their pop-punk meets jangly new wave indie synthpop hit that electrifies from the first synth-charged note.

The elementally augmented anthem is dynamically intense enough to run a power grid off, make you lose your head and the dancefloor and become your new favourite adrenaline-fueled earworm. If there were any more boxes to tick, Crashes would brandish their sonic signature right through them.

Living in the Future is a clear sign of how honed Crashes’ songwriting has become since their debut in 2017; you just can’t help getting swept up in the tumultuously hooked momentum. Following the success of their 2022 EP, Infinite, the track is set to seal the Glasgow-hailing band’s illustrious fate in the industry.

While other artists stop with new wave assimilation, Crashes are pouring their innovative volition, achingly honest emotion and curveball-throwing creativity into the high-octane mix, to a dizzyingly euphoric effect. Even with the antagonism and agony projected into the performance of Living in the Future, the ecstasy isn’t just heard, it resounds.

Living in the Future was officially released on January 26th. It is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rob Russell antagonised the airwaves by unleashing his alt-rock debut LP, What It All Meant

Rob Russell’s single ‘Carried‘, extracted from his debut LP ‘What It All Meant‘, is a striking genre synthesis that boldly defies the conventional boundaries of alternative rock. The track is an audacious blend, merging the defiant spirit of contemporary skate punk with the wistful echoes of 90s pop punk, all while embracing the gritty essence of grunge.

Russell’s approach to production is refreshingly unpolished, allowing the song’s inherent rawness to shine through. This choice pays off, as it accentuates the emotional gravity of the track, making ‘Carried’ a lesson in volition.

The single resonates with a sense of rugged honesty, a quality that is increasingly rare in today’s alt-rock landscape. Russell’s vocal delivery is both poignant and powerful, weaving through the dynamic soundscape with a balance of aggression and vulnerability. The instrumentation complements this perfectly, with guitar riffs that are both sharp and melodic, underpinned by a rhythm section that drives through the track with relentless energy.

‘Carried’ stands as a testament to Russell’s ability to channel the ethos of alt-rock’s past while forging his own path. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Check out Rob Russell’s LP, What It All Meant, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NEET and Tidy wrapped their grungy pop-punk hooks around the afflictions of modernity in their LP, Is This Progress?

If any band can advocate for the LP format in an era when our attention spans are shorter than a boardwalk, it is NEET and Tidy with their aural corridor back to the alt-90s.

The sophomore album, Is This Progress? is an unflinchingly reflective exposition of the afflictions of modernity. The sludged-up hooks in Pillow Talk, which captures the bitter taste of a love turned sour, carry all the infectious rancour of Jawbreaker and NOFX, before Play Me launches a straight-up attack on how far the industry has fallen since the golden era of indie and alt-rock. Lyrics in the vein of, “your favourite pop star is the latest infection”, and “another NFT, another stupid dance”, paint a damning portrait of how twisted the industry has come through the contortions of capitalism and narcissism-driven content.

Another standout release within the LP is the evocative evolution of pop-punk into the chorally reverb-swathed remit of shoegaze. Snow (Okay) is a harbingering lament on how the music industry revolves around ableism when it isn’t bleeding vulnerable people dry. From start to finish, the sophomore release from NEET and Tidy asserts the Nashville-residing outfit as one of the most relatable and essential bands in 2024. If you’re always looking for artists with the ability to cut through the static of your ennui, you will find one when you delve into this seminal release.

Is This Progress will reach the airwaves on February 23rd; stream the LP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ana & Gene Interview: Crafting Harmonies and Breaking Boundaries

In an illuminating conversation with Ana & Gene, the dynamic duo behind the chart-topping hit ‘Narcissistic You’, we delve into the serendipitous beginnings of their partnership, born amidst the solitude of the pandemic and fostered through a shared passion for music and film.

Their journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, where spontaneous creativity and mutual respect for each other’s artistry have led to the birth of sensational tracks. As they discuss the genesis of their unique sound, a blend of retro and modern power pop, and their perspective on the evolving digital landscape of the music industry in 2024, Ana & Gene offer a glimpse into their creative process and future endeavours.

It is safe to say you have both earned your respective stripes in the music industry, what initially brought you together? 

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought us together and we found each other over Facebook.  We started talking about both our careers in the entertainment world of music and film.  We found out that we had so much in common and we appreciated each other’s talents. Then we decided to get together and become a new hit duo sensation to wow the world.”

It’s clear that you both complement each other’s talent and style, but what has been the most gratifying part of the collaborative experience so far? 

“The fact that we just flow so well together while we are creating.  A good example is when Gene started to warm up to play one of our new songs “More Than My Best Friend”.  He stumbled upon some beautiful chords, then I jumped out of my chair and leaned in towards him while he was playing and I started to sing Uh-Oh Who Do You Love.  So that is how our other song was born.”

Your single, Narcissistic You, has become quite the phenomenon on the airwaves and has been in high rotation on radio stations; what do you believe the key to the success of the single was? 

“The key to the success of Narcissistic You comes from the unique way Ana wrote the lyrics and hooks.  She wanted the song to portray as much realism as possible.  Also, the way I played the rhythm helped construct the melody, it brought the song completely together.  But also, our Recording Engineer Joe Bonadonna and our other musicians called “The Scene” including Buddy Woods (Lead Guitar), Michael O’Connor (Bass Guitar), and Rob Lela (Drums), helped and contributed to making the song what it is today.”

We love the retro yet modernised power pop aesthetic of Narcissistic You; were there any bands or artists who influenced the sound? 

“Well, I always loved pop rock, pop punk, and rock music, artists like Green Day and All Time Low.  I always wanted to create my own unique pop rock/pop punk rock music.  So, I explained to Gene what I wanted and then he helped give me his rhythmic flair.”

As you like to keep some of the elements of your music traditional, we’d love to get your take on the music industry as it currently stands in 2024. Is it a digital land of opportunity or a paltry effigy of what it once was? 

“We believe that it is a digital land of opportunity as it currently stands for 2024.  Today’s music Industry isn’t like how it used to be.  But everything is always evolving, and the best bet is to always go with the flow.”

What’s next for Ana & Gene?

“Right now we are in the process of making a new single called “Giving You Love”.  It is a unique blend of Tropical, Pop and Country music.  Just so everyone knows, Gene and I like to create a vast variety of Genres for our fans to enjoy.  Aside from this new single, we are also working on a new EP.  And very shortly, we will be playing with our band The Scene at venues near you.”

Stream Ana & Gene’s EP, Uh-Oh Who Do You Love on Spotify.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

We Were Blank – Blame: The Emo Antidote to the Influx of Valentine’s Day Sonic Banality

Every Valentine’s Day sees a flood of trite sentiments cloyingly affix themselves to the airwaves; if you’re looking for a scathingly antithetical antidote, look no further than We Were Blank’s latest installation of pop-punk rancour, Blame.

With hints of Tom DeLonge in the vox before they burst into Rise Against-reminiscent outpours of visceralism, Blame ticks all the right vocal emo boxes as We Were Blank throws a barrage of aggravated instrumental curveballs to keep you on the edge of your proverbial seat (or in the middle of the pit if you’re catching them live). And what emo hit would be complete without a slam poetry elucidation that captures the essence of the single towards the outro to make you want to relive the experience and make your heart rise to your throat again?

The Craigslist-born, basement in Buffalo-raised fourpiece banded together with the ethos of writing with their heartstrings and letting their bodies visualise the torment; Blame is the ultimate testament to their vulnerable expressionism. They’ve got the precision, the volition, and the unflinching dedication to raw lyrical candour to hold dominion over the emo domain in 2024.

Blame will be available to stream on all major streaming platforms from February 14th; check it out on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ana & Gene scribed a modern love story with retro tones in their power-pop hit, Narcissistic You

Ana & Gene, the dynamic duo behind the fresh and invigorating EP, Uh-Oh Who Do You Love, have struck gold with their single Narcissistic You. The earworm is an infectious paradox through its synthesis of sticky-sweet retro power-pop and modern fusionist and lyrical touches.

The song is a masterclass in blending genres, contorting classic rock riffs into pop hooks without losing an ounce of their retro charm. Ana & Gene’s commitment to live elements in their recording process shines through, promising an electric replication of this energy in their live performances.

What sets ‘Narcissistic You’ apart is its playful yet piercing commentary on the modern lexicon and societal shifts. The lyrics cleverly weave in the increasing awareness of narcissism, striking a chord with contemporary listeners. The dual harmonies between Anastacia Bella and Gene Roberts are nothing short of magnetic. Their voices intertwine with a natural chemistry, elevating the song’s playful, tongue-in-cheek nature.

The track is a testament to Ana & Gene’s ability to craft music that appeals across generations. Their aim to reach audiences through radio, TV, commercials, film, and social media is not just ambitious but achievable with such a universally appealing sound.

Stream Narcissistic You with the rest of Ana & Gene’s 4-track EP, Uh-Oh Who Do You Love on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast