Lone Wolf Together Alone LP

I was expecting something completely different when I first put this on and I gotta say, I’m really glad it’s not at all what I expected. What I expected was some run-of-the-mill pop punk bordering on “RAMONES-core.” What I got instead was a record that while still catchy, stays as far away from the aforementioned genre as possible. This record reminds me of a more subdued DEAD TO ME. I could easily find this in somewhat regular rotation on my stereo and possibly a contender for one of my favorite albums of the year.

Lucy and the Rats Dark Clouds / Get Down 7″

This is a quartet out of London that makes lovely, garage-y pop songs. On this record there are only two, but they both clock in at over three minutes and are chock-full of melody and powerful leads. I would call both of them mid-tempo pop ballads that are easy to sway along to while we’re all cooped up in our homes. The production is pretty slick, which is nice because it really spotlights Lucy’s crisp and gorgeous vocals. The first song especially reminds me quite a bit of MUNCIE GIRLS, though both tracks are multi-layered, and uniquely their own. If you’re looking for something chill to ease your mind in isolation, this ought to be near the top of your list.

Mikey Erg Bon Voyage EP

MIKEY ERG, formerly of the ERGS, has written a love letter to the 7″ format with Bon Voyage. With three new songs acting as a sampler of his capabilities and a cover of the BEATLES’ “Mother Nature’s Son” to fill out the B-side, Mr. Erg will garner clapping and wooting from the rabid fanbase of his past band, and may even pull in some newbies through his infectious enthusiasm. The A-side is pop-punk designed for a festival setting, meant to lure in beer-holding, newly balding 30-something dudes who don’t fit their T-shirt the way they used to. The B-side then sonically explodes with speed and excitement with “Colleen” before moving into the sneering-while-smiling tune of the previously mentioned cover. This 7″ is a fantastic proof of concept document for those that somehow missed the last nearly two decades of Mikey’s career, and it will be a quick and healthy dose for those that have been craving more.

More Kicks Punch Drunk LP

This trio from London gets me thinking of the JAM right away, without actually sounding like the JAM—something about the cadence of the vocals. It’s super catchy and melodic, which is always a plus for me. And the second track has me thinking about the BUZZCOCKS, which is where most of the remaining tracks end up with me. This is definitely on the pop side of the punk spectrum, but in the end I’d call it power pop. (Don’t ask me to explain the difference between power pop and pop punk, but there is a difference.) Anyway, the record is well-done and these guys are talented and can sing. This won’t be for all you punks, but it will be for some of you. And it is for me.