The Dares – Pain

Artist: The Dares

Song: Pain

Genres: #poprock #alternativerock

Location: Santa Ana, United States

Release date: April, 2022.

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!

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Sugarcult – Do It Alone

Artist: Sugarcult

Song: Do It Alone

Genres: #alternativerock

Location: California, United States

Release date: July, 2006

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.

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Ian Moloney – Polaroid

Artist: Ian Moloney

Song: Polaroid

Genres: #indierock #punkrock

Location: Doonbeg, Ireland

Influences: The 1975, Nirvana, My Chemical Romance

Release date: December, 2021

Comment:  If you live in Ireland, you might have seen Ian Moloney busking on the streets, playing at a gig or participating at a music competition. He’s involved with the local Irish gig scene like that. I hope those who have seen him play could appreciate how talented he is because it would be a shame if they didn’t. Influenced by The 1975’s debut album and MCR’s The Black Parade, Ian has released the second part to his debut EP, The Insomniac’s Dream, back in December, and it got quite a few good songs in it. I chose Polaroid today simply because Ian recorded a music video for it (see below) but I could have chosen any track. The album, which was recorded by Ian and a friend at their own houses during the pandemic, is that consistent.

I believe this record is just Ian’s starting point, but listen to Polaroid below and you will see how good a starting point it is.

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Lost Like Lions – Back To Life

Photo credits: Brandi Amoia Photography

Artist: Lost Like Lions

Song: Back To Life

Genres: #alternativerock #punkrock

Location: Buffalo, NY, United States

Influences: Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab For Cutie, Sugarcult

Release date: February, 2022

Comment:  Derrik Schiersing (Vocals/Guitar) started Lost Like Lions in 2014, when he even recorded a debut EP in Los Angeles that featured guest vocals from A.J. Perdomo (The Dangerous Summer). Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan back then and the band went on a break until 2018, when they decided to give it another try. After releasing an EP in 2020, Lost Like Lions are getting ready to release a brand new EP, “Fear of Letting Go”, later this year.

Back To Life, the lead single, is a track about reinventing yourself and, as you can see from the band’s brief history above, they do know a thing or two about that. I actually think The Dangerous Summer would be a good comparison here because the vibes are pretty similar. Perhaps Lost Like Lions are a bit less punk, more alt-rock, and just as enjoyable. Check them out!

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Cydeways – Down

Artist: Cydeways

Song: Down

Genres: #poppunk #punkrock

Location: Santa Barbara, California

Release date: February, 2022

CommentDown 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.

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Caroline Romano – Oddities & Prodigies

Artist: Caroline Romano

Song: Oddities & Prodigies

Genres: #AlternativeRock, #Altpop

Location: Nashville, United States

Release date: February, 2022.

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!

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Atlas For Home – Keep Going

Artist: Atlas For Home

Song: Keep Going

Genres: #poppunk #punkrock

Location: Paris, France

Influences: Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, Neck Deep

Release date: January, 2022

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.

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Picture Us Tiny – Forever & Always

Cover art: Jessica Haines

Artist: Picture Us Tiny

Song: Forever & Always (Tiny’s Version)

Genres:  #punkrock #poppunk

Location: Syracuse, United States

Release date: December, 2021.

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.

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Old Currents – Here, You Throw This Away

Artist: Old Currents

Song: Here, You Throw This Away

Genres:  #punkrock

Location: New Jersey, United States

Release date: December, 2021.

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.

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Weekend Punks – The Theme from Weekend Punks

Artist: Weekend Punks

Song: The Theme from Weekend Punks

Genres: #surfpop #indierock

Location:  Southampton, United Kingdom

Release date: November, 2021

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!

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