Full disclosure: I tried really really hard not to like this disc from The New Classic. I mean, like, really hard. But, alas, each and every song from beginning to end is freaking catchy as all hell. Make no mistake – this is power pop, straight out of the Blink 182 playbook, but, frankly, I didn’t care because, as I might have mentioned, these songs are catchy. The Tucson outfit comprised of Matt Graham (vocal/bass), Alfonzo Montiel and Jimmy Borquez (guitars), and Vic Chan (drums) gives outstanding performances and the songwriting, while the themes are familiar are…yes, catchy… Hanging around their Facebook page, it’s nice to see the band setting off for venues outside of Arizona and I am quite confident they will find an audience. While there’s nothing really new about this “Classic”, what I’m waiting for is the next record. They’ve proven up to the task of writing and recording these very tidy songs (I’m happy they found a producer and engineer who understands the genre), but here’s hoping The New Classic does not repeat the mistakes of their forerunners in this style. Listen here.
This 6-song record by Bear State from Phoenix is a gem in my opinion. Hello Alexander is full of really nice guitar hooks delivered by Micah, and stellar, empty drums and faint bass (Shoegaze demands it), provided by Jon and Danny, respectfully, and the wafting vocals from Caleb keep the music airy and ethereal.The only real critique I have is that I wasn’t really into the instrumental tracks. Don’t get me wrong they’re great, but I didn’t really feel like they were part of the same album and frankly I missed the vocals and songwriting that is present in the other tracks. Worth a listen to be sure, and I look forward to catching them out live.
Live from Wolfstock
Well, here’s something you don’t see every day: an all-girl high school punk rock band from Scottsdale. Now, I was really excited to hear what they had, but when I saw there was only one original and a bunch of covers…talk about a let down. The covers, ranging from Hole to Three Days Grace to Led Zeppelin and their take on “Toxic” by Brittany Spears (insert ironic phrase here) are terrific. The chicks – Sydney, Alex, Nicole, Elizabeth and Meghan – range from age 14 to age 17, and are quite accomplished musicians who really belt it out. The one original, “Family of Strangers”, has a lot of potential. The track (and covers), recorded live, start out with Sydney, the lead singer, introducing the band members along with their ages, (a fact that they are very proud of), – which in itself is a great hook. As far as the song goes, there’s a ton of potential, especially since the girls can play, and play well, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it Punk Rock. I enjoyed it as did the audience who appreciatively applauded after they finished. Listen to Doll Skin here.
Dear Doll Skin, from one punk rock lover to another, go to your favorite record store and search out records from Bikini Kill, Blondie, Patti Smith, and one of my current favorites, Tacocat – listen to them, love them, and get back to writing because I’m itching for some high school punk rock. – Frank