Strangelight Power, Rent, Control / A Three Day Weekend 7″

Two songs with rhythm, tempo and guitars sounding very pop punk in the gruff, slightly rough way some late ’90/early ’00s US and UK bands could be. But otherwise, this is very genre-neutral punk. You can tap your foot and sing along without much trouble, and the songs know how to quit when they’re ahead. All that and a sense of humor—I don’t ask for much else.

Strangelight The World Needs Laughter LP

By the album title, I thought I was in for some egg-punk silliness, but instead found an Oakland, CA hardcore foursome that sounds like Sister-era SONIC YOUTH. This is a four-song single-sided 12″, with a screen-printed B-side of “The World Needs Laughter” in an eye chart logo. The guitar and violin outro on “Lead Blanket” form a nice break before the heavy-hitting title track that slaps in half the time of its predecessor. STRANGELIGHT’s tour starts off in Oakland this month, so get after it.

Strangelight Adult Themes LP

This thing is hot, front to back, like if you thought there was going to be a track in the middle of the B-side that let up, you’d be wrong. Its straight WIPERS/HOT SNAKES love but with a little bit of a heavier, hardcore feel. That’s not to say that it is lacking in hooks or catchy riffs, but the rougher/angrier vocals and darker feel to the rhythm section give a little more weight to the driving, downstroke guitar attack. The only downside is that unfortunate effect on the snare drum (slap echo?) that’s hard to unhear once you’ve noticed it.