Comment: As a band, The Dares current lineup has been performing together since 2010. During this time, they have had the chance to work with both established and up-and-coming producers. While getting help from professionals is always nice, it is also pretty expensive with pricey hourly rates, which is not good for artistic freedom when you got a limited budget. For example, you may have to settle for a less than perfect option just because you cannot afford another recording session. The pandemic gave The Dares the opportunity to set up a home studio on an unused conference room, which allowed them to self-produce a few songs.The band enjoyed having the opportunity to pursue their own vision and that shows in tracks like Pain, from the use of synths to the layered vocals on the bridge and outro.
Despite having a relatively happy melody, Pain got a deep meaning with lyrics that criticise those who prey on vulnerable people (which, sadly, seems to happen more and more these days). It is a track full of contrasts and definitely worthy of our attention. Please check The Dares out!
Comment: I hadn’t done one of these (#ThrowbackThursday entries) in a while, mostly due to a lack of time, not a lack of songs. In fact, I wanted to feature Sugarcult last week, after they kindly liked a tweet in which I mentioned them, but alas, I ran out of time. This band from Santa Barbara, California, started in 1999 and had a pretty successful debut studio album in 2001, during the hey-day of early 2000s punk-rock –by the way, last year they re-release that album in its 20th anniversary–. However, something I liked about them was that they were not afraid to experiment and try new sounds: none of their three studio albums sound alike.
Despite still being active (after a hiatus), they have not released a new album since 2006’s Lights Out, which is the one that features today’s track: Do It Alone. This song was the first single off that album and probably ahead of its time, because it wasn’t even as successful as the second single (Los Angeles). I think part of the reason why was that it sounded closer to the music of bands that were becoming popular then, like The Killers, than what Sugarcult had released before. It was our loss, though, because the single was really outstanding and perhaps, in a parallel world in which both track and album were a massive success, we would have had many more Sugarcult albums.
Comment: Down got the peculiarity of being a cool pop-punk song made by what until now had been an alt-reggae band. Cydeways got a wide range of influences and they just follow whatever inspires them regardless of the genre. Lyrically, Down is a light tune about being into an ex’s best friend, and melodically, it reminds me of the best tracks from bands such as Mest and New Found Glory. The production from Kyle Black (Paramore, State Champs, The Story So Far) is really top-notch. All in all, Down is an outstanding track that we can definitely enjoy.
Comment: 20-year-old Nashville-based artist Caroline Romano was featured here last August (when she was still 19) with her song The Hypothetical, which is part of her brand new album, titled “Oddities & Prodigies“, released in February. The album comes highly recommended with several good songs like the above-mentioned one and Grocery Store, among others. However, my favorite track by far is the eponymous Oddities & Prodigies, which is even better than The Hypothetical. In fact, if you like catchy #poprock songs, you might find it perfect. Check it out!
Comment: The punk-rock genre is having some kind of renaissance in France with talented bands like Back On Earth and today’s featured band: Atlas For Home. This quartet has been around since at least 2014 but “Keep Going” is their first single in four years, so don’t feel bad if you’re into this type of music and hadn’t heard of them. The good news is that they’re planning to release a new EP this year, with this catchy single being just an appetizer. The band’s new leitmotiv is to create the perfect blend between mid-2000s pop-punk, like Blink, and modern pop-punk, like Neck Deep. It’s an ambitious goal, but judging by “Keep Going”, they know what they’re doing. Give them a chance.
Comment: Picture Us Tiny is the moniker of Jackson Velli, who in April last year posted a short pop-punk cover of Forever & Always (originally from Taylor Swift) that became viral on Tiktok. That success led him to record and release a full version on all platforms, which is great news to those of us who are not regular users of said social media website, as we would have missed it otherwise. One of Jackson’s main goals is to “ensure catchy punk music will never die” and this cover is a great step towards achieving that.
Comment: Fans of The Gaslight Anthem will love this tune because Old Currents‘ vocalist, Jake Novak, does sound a lot like Brian Fallon. The energetic Here, You Through This Away is the band’s first release since their debut album in 2017, and will be featured in their new album: The Glory, The Defeat, to be released in April. If it is full of songs such as this one, we won’t want to miss that release. It could be one of the highlights of 2022.
Comment: This song is part of a 3-track EP that was written between Southampton (UK) and Reykjavik (Iceland), so I don’t think it is simply a coincidence that Weekend Punks remind me a bit of Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men. Weekend Punks claim to play Surf Pop with relatively little experience of surf or sun. I think their style is actually some kind of chilled back punk mixed with shoegaze pop and 90s rock vibes. The glue that holds everything together is the lead singer’s magnetic vocals. The Theme from Weekend Punks is the band’s second single and a good example of this very interesting proposition. Check it out!
Comment: I don’t think Antidote is the best song Simple Plan has ever released, not even close, but it is nevertheless a heck of a good song that remind us that these Canadian rockers still got it. Believe it or not, their debut album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls is going to be 20 in March. Anyway, Simple Plan wrote Antidote during the pandemic and hopefully it is an indication of how their next album is going to sound like.
Comment: The Maine is a pretty consistent band from Arizona that always delivers a few gems per album, such as Face Towards The Sun, which is part of their latest record: XOXO: From Love and Anxiety in Real Time. It is not one of the lead singles but it will surely become a fan favorite because it got a great melody and an effervescent chorus, despite the less than optimistic lyrics. Overall, it is another great song from The Maine.