HEYROCCO just brought it….



Coming out of the traps at 100 miles an hour, HEYROCCO’s new track Yeah sounds like the personification of the teenage dream. Fast guitars, illegible vocals and incendiary drumming makes this two and a half minute belter melt into you psyche, faster than a Cornetto on a sun drenched pavement.



Whilst listening to it you can pick out references points including a punk intensity, Beach Boys melodies, a smidge of garage rock circa 2000-2003 all under an indie pop umbrella. It’s almost like Anarchy in the UK was covered by The Distillers, which was then covered by The Parrots, at their most visceral and lo-fi, while your best mate sings long and makes new lyrics in the car after a day of being day drunk and reading Generation X. This all probably stems from it being produced by Brendan Benson, yeah, it all makes sense now right?



Despite all its bravado and teenage ferocity, Yeah is actually full of tender lyrics that blight growing up in a world where the youth are never really listened to, despite it’s their future that is being affected by decisions that people old enough to know better are making. The lyrics also manage to evoke Voltare, whilst being catchy as hell “It’s never gonna go away, but everything will be ok, When everything says the same, I go insane”.











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1990’s punk attitude + 2016 styling / social commentary = Ledger



New Jersey has a rich musical heritage. Looking back over the ages and you’ll seen names like Count Basie, Bill Evans, Wyclef Jean, Les Paul, Frankie Valli, Nelson Riddle, Whitney Houston and a certain Mr. Bruce Fredrick Joseph Springsteen all hailing from the state.



Now a new name has been thrown in the ring, Ledger. This trio, consisting of Ed McWilliams on bass and vocals, Chris Bryson on drums and Mark Holdcraft on guitar and vocals, make a form of punk music that lies heavily with an early 1990’s American methodology. Think Green Day/Offspring/Social Distortion/bink-182 and you’re on the right lines. The guitars are heavy and distorted, the drums are fast and the vocals are guttural and snide. It’s basically what you want!



Ledger make music that is fun at heart. They’ve tapped into the playfulness that the early 90’s American scene had, but there are flourishes of social commentary that show that all is not well in 2016. The lyrics to Save the Clock Tower are basically a re-telling of Back to the Future. Through understanding the codes and conventions of the punk genre, and being able to reduce a tow hour film to just under four minutes, they’ve produced something that is as catchy as it is clever. Yes there are flaws, but we’ll just put these down to it being their debut EP and lo-fi recording. However these imperfections are endearing, like the early Ramones and Green Day albums were, as when they hit a blip instead of worrying about it they just carry on. This is the punk way. As the old adage says “Two chords is punk, three chords is jazz”. And this is definitely punk!








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Melt Yourself Down join the Speedy Wunderground gang



There are fewer sentences in the English language that get me more excited than “New Speedy Wunderground single”. Whether these four words are either be said or written down, it doesn’t matter I immediately get Goosebumps. But when I found out that Melt Yourself Down were going to be the eighteenth release in the on-going saga, saying I got Goosebumps doesn’t quite cut it.



When MYD first exploded onto the scene in 2013 with their self-titled debut it caught most music fans by surprise. No one expected an Afro-Beat Punk jazz group from London to deliver the goods, but deliver they did. After winning over audiences wherever they played, they won over music buying fans with an album that is still hard to explain three years later. Then all went quiet and I feared the worst. Was it just an amazing one off?



Luckily I was proved wrong when they released their follow up, Last Evening on Earth, earlier this year. As the title suggests it was as apocalyptic as it was danceable and remains a highwater mark for this year. Now they’ve returned with their first new material since its release, and let me tell you, it’s an absolute screamer. You know that goal that Luka Modric scored against Turkey in the European Championships? Well that was a tap in compared to this!



Another Weapon opens with a MYD’s trademark rhythm section firing on all cylinders as Kushal Gaya sings “You’ve got the rage, You’ve found someone to blame”. Not to get all political, but could this song have had any great impact if it had been Speedy Wunderground #15, or #21? As Another Weapon progresses it gets more and more frenzied and more and more out there. But there is a lo-fi charm to it that keeps us on our toes. We’re given the impression that everything could fall over at any time under its cantering rhythms and liberal use of timings. In fairness the time signatures are all over the shop and the horn section is having blast. In a nutshell, imagine Sun Ra being produced by, well, Dan Carey. But just when you think all is lost and the freak out will never end, it only comes back together again for its glorious outro.



Unlike other Speedy Wunderground singles, where the song is written during the 24 hour session, Another Weapon has been part of MYD’s live set since 2013, but as Speedy Wunderground say on the sleeve notes to their Year 2 compilation “Rule #11. Speedy Wunderground Reserves the Right to Change its Own Rules”. Everyone at thisyearinmusic is glad they did, as this is another weapon to their 10 11 point arsenal.



Another Weapon is released on 5th August and can be bought here









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Reflowered Girlz knock it out of the park on debut release



Reflowered Girlz have only being going since late last year. I find this hard to believe. Part of this disbelief is that their songs are fully formed and, as a band, they are tight and powerful. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Established bands find this hard to do, yet alone a band on their debut release. Whatever the magic formula is Reflowered Girlz know all about it.



Their debut EP kicks off with Love Song. Opening with the lines “I don’t care what they do, I just wanna be with you, I don’t care what they say, I just wanna love you all day”, that is after a barrage of drums and distorted guitars. These are themes we’ve heard hundreds of times before, but Anna Reflowered Girlz really wins us over. This is done through an honest delivery and catchy hooks. Living Un-Normal sees the band tackle mundane subjects and question them in an extensional manner. “It feels like I’m living inside of my mind, My head always hurts from just being alive, My eyes can see thermal, Living un-normal” sums this malaise up perfectly. Again it is backup by driving drums, purring bass and visceral guitars.



There are traces of The Go-Go’s, Sleater-Kinney, The Detroit Cobras, The Replacements, Runaways and a slew of other seminal bands throughout the Reflowered Girlz EP. Some of them are as obvious as a tone of voice, others a more subtle, a turn of phrase/guitar sound, but instead of sounding like a pastiche or a rip-off, it all works to make Reflowered Girlz one of the most enjoyable and exciting releases in recent months.









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Neon Deth Cult. The name says it all really



After spending the last three days at The Great Escape you’d think that all I’d want to do today is sit in a darkened room in self-imposed exile. But no. Not a chance. Instead I’m back at it trying to find the best new forward thinking music out there. Today’s offering fits this remit perfectly.



Neon Deth Cult make the kind of music that should only be experienced at high volume in small, dark and sweaty venues full of a throbbing seething mass totally transfixed by what they are seeing and hearing. As the title of the EP suggests these are just demo versions, but in this writers opinion, they’re perfect the way they are. Everything is muddy, distorted and visceral.



Bad Robot gets things going with peels of feedback before a monumental riff kicks in that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kyuss album. Over the next three minutes Neon Deth Cult show us what they’re made of. Musically it’s just a repetition of a few riffs with slight variations. Shaved Apes is more gentle and serene. Clean guitars intertwine with stark drumming before all hell breaks loose and it becomes the soundtrack to the apocalypse. The final track Are We Happy Yet? is basically a jam track that skews and mutates before our very ears. It’s dark, long and very, very, very listenable.



After hearing demos you immediately want to go out and see them live. As they’re based in Australia and I live in the UK this isn’t going to happen for a while. So as a compromise let’s hope that release another batch of doom punk before too long.













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My Cruel Goro return with new single



Last year My Cruel Goro released their debut EP. It was a short sharp affair that never really deviated from a 4/4 beat, fuzzed guitars and a shouty vocal. This was fine, who doesn’t love that from time to time? The problem was that was about it. There wasn’t much else going on.



They’ve now returned with new song Lost E. On one hand it’s another balls to the wall, foot all the way to the floor and other clichés that always get thrown about then a band plays fast and hard. But just like their self-titled EP that’s it. I was hoping for some key change, shift in tempo, or anything else to break up the 4/4 beat, fuzzed guitars and shouty vocals, or a hint that they were more than a one trick pony. But alas no. That being said, clocking in at two minutes, there probably isn’t a great deal they could do to alter the course of the song.



Basically this sounds like Kelly Jones fronting Ash for a Ramones cover. That’s it. No sugar coating or dressing it up. But come on, even the Ramones changed things a bit on their albums….










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After eighteen years, and five albums you’d be forgiven to if you started to run out of steam. This cannot be said for Sacramento’s!!! (Chk Chk Chk). Their sixth album As If, released through their long-time home of Warp Records, is a heady mix of punk funk indie disco, but with an added layer of poppy sheen. The title was my initial response when I heard this “As If…”, but they have and the resulting album is a career high!




‘All U Writers’ showcases this newly found pop direction. It’s a slightly shorter version than the Record Store Day release, but it’s doesn’t lose anything for its trimming. It bustles and struts with a disco funk rhythm, but is grounded with an infectious dance back beat and melodic pop hooks. Lyrically it’s brilliant. Is opening line “Hey you writers. Get out your pens and write” aimed at all the journalists and bloggers that !!! (Chk Chk Chk) know will be writing about this new album? The only problem is that ‘All U Writers’ delivers the lyric of the album in its opening salvo “She said her favourite Beatles song was Wonderwall”. It’s good to see that Nic Offer has not lost his ability to write tongue in cheek lyrics that are grounded in reality.



‘Every Little Bit Counts’ opens to Phuture-esque acid beats, then a Pete Hook bassline kicks in, while this sudden change sinks in, the song then jerks into a funk guitar line and some gloriously massive pop vocals. This shouldn’t work. It should sound like a cacophony, or come over as try hard, but it doesn’t. It all blends in perfectly and is one of the albums stand out moments. ‘Freedom! ‘15’ is another banger. The bassline is searing, and after prolonged exposure it is a deadly earworm, but in small doses it could be the pop song of year. It’s reminiscent of club-pop one hit wonders from the mid to late 1990’s. If you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven thinking this was a cover and you watched the original on Top of The Pop’s in 1998, before finishing your maths homework.



‘All the Way’ is one of the simplest songs on the album, but one of the most enjoyable. The whole song revolves around a throbbing bassline, hard breakbeat and synth loop. Vocals, guitars and keyboards then drop in and out, as the song requires. ‘The Money Runs Out’ comes closest to equalling ‘All U Writers’ lyrical gambit with lines like “Hotel room paintings. Who even paints them? I’ll get myself an agent. Stay here as long as we want. Then drive to the next one and sell paintings right out the trunk” and the catchy chorus of “You and Me are gonna go down South. Stay in hotels until the money runs out. You and Me are gonna go up North stay in hotels and put the sign on the door, Until the money runs out”.



On previous albums !!! (Chk Chk Chk) have always delivered great songs, but never a cohesive album. 2013’s Thr!!!er came closest, but overall it felt like something was missing. That something has now been filled and As If is the album they’ve always hinted at, but never pulled off. Whether they no longer care how they are perceived, or after eighteen years together they’ve now reached a breakthrough where nothing is musically off limits is unknown, or that the album is predominantly self-produced gave Offer and co new freedom, but whatever it is, this new devil may care attitude is as refreshing as it is exciting. At times ‘As If’ sounds like Daft Punk’s 2013 blockbuster Random Access Memories, but you know, more focused, fun and with better songs. Frontman Offer recently said “Everyone wants us to be punk. Everyone wants us to be raw. We want to make dance music. The kind of dance music that sounds raw is that early 1990’s house records.” If this was their mission statement for the album then they’ve succeeded. !!! (Chk Chk Chk) quite possibly have released the album of the year, As If!!!









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