I try not to dwell on comparisons between bands but when one comes along and just reminds you of everything you’ve ever liked (ever), it’s hard to ignore that. HUNK! have that kind of sound. When I was originally shown their song “Laidbare”, I thought it was one of Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, Go Sailor)’s new projects. Then on other material, they jump between Jale, Plumtree, Full Of Fancy, Cub, all effortlessly. That’s not to say that HUNK! are totally like any of the previously mentioned, rather they have bits and pieces that are blended into their own unique sound.
All of this out of a trio from Galway, Kerry and Cork in Ireland. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from them.
Twee is at its best when it’s slightly shambolic and a bit off. The vocals here are sweet yet there is the tiniest glimpse of sadness involved. The whole thing is shaky and a bit awkward, but it gives a lot of heart to a song that is less than two minutes long.
With an accompanying video like this, you could easily mistake it for some lost raw gem from the early 90’s. It’s not really news that a lot of modern bands are looking to that time for inspiration these days (some are full out ripping off) but when it works, it’s great. This isn’t an homage as it is a continuation.
Not to be confused with similarly named NY band Very Okay, Very Happy are a pop punk outfit from Philadelphia. At their most positive, they are relatable to bands like Full Of Fancy. On the other end of the spectrum, such as on “Angry Swan”, they seem closer to Desaparecidos. The whole record is full of fun, catchy hooks fronted with passionate vocals. Even when the subject matter is about stray felines.
Despite the vintage sounds and looks here, the lyricism is a more modern take on what it is to “be a lady”. It’s less about the old school style its aesthetics are based on, and more a call out on girl hate.
Hopie has a really distinctive voice, but musically she seems to jump between quite a lot of styles. It is done in such an effortless way that no two songs sound the same, but it’s still clearly her.
Fuzzy pop from a duo in Bermuda Dunes, SoCal. I am not the first person to say it, but I can’t avoid mentioning how much the vocals remind me of Jenny Lewis. Musically they’re not as similar, as the songs are typically limited to two minutes or less and seems to be closer to garage revival, or maybe shoegaze if it spent some more time in the sun.
Admittedly, when it came to choosing a song to post here, I am always going to be in favour of an Arrested Development reference. Four more years!
Considering earlier material by this woman was quite folky, it’s really interesting to see her taking a more experimental route. Fuzzy guitar, a ridiculously wonky rhythm and great use of a cowbell.
Mélissa was born in Montreal and had her musical beginnings in Ottawa, but is now based in Paris. She comes from a Haitian background and although a lot of her material is English, she often writes and performs in Creole.
Sand Witches- A Stranger Broke My Finger, But You Broke My Heart
Punk trio from Bloomington, Indiana. While they may have a song about their adoration for the finer things in life (pizza) this track has a bit of a different turn. In fact, there’s something really melancholic about its sound. Punk rock is typically a lot of fun, but everybody gets down on themselves sometimes. It’s nice to hear about it outside of your more typically acoustic fare. This is still full of shouty, pissed off vocals, but it’s got a lot more guts to be this personal.
Taken from their cassette release, Take Me Too Your Pizza Leader.
Colleen Green is a solo artist currently based in Oakland, California. The sound of her bedroom recordings ranges from fuzzy pop punk to swooning ballads and a lot more in between.
This is a cover of the 1957 song, originally recorded by the Don and Dewey duo. It feels like it could have been right at home on the Twin Peaks soundtrack years ago, as the vocals remind me a lot of Julee Cruise.
Spilling The Beans is a project by a proud stay at home mum called Ali on vocals and her husband Andrew taking care of most of the instruments. This is their first attempt at a kids song. Adorableness ensues.
On their other material, the band draws a lot of comparisons to the more classic names from their area, San Francisco. This release leans another way. It’s not exactly a new theme, but this is a much darker take on beach culture that has so heavily influenced punk bands from all over California. The sound on “Shark Beach” in particular feels like a tiny nod (unintentionally?) to L.A. legends The Dickies.
It’s not all just about the seaside, though. If you’re into any of the early 80’s Cali bands, this one’s for you. It’s not too modernized, but it’s not stale either. It’s just fun.