1. “Into the River” – The Quick and the Dead. This exclusive download toes the line between power-pop and Old ’97s alt-country and includes a killer harmonica solo. Back to the Future Part Three was rad.*
2. “Primitive Style” – Johnny Delaware. I am in a roadtrip movie. I am in an ’80s convertible. Johnny Delaware is riding on the back of the car and playing guitar, somehow standing upright at 60 mph. My feathered hair is flying in the wind. I feel like yelling “FREEDOM” into the air in a Breakfast Club sort of way, not a William Wallace sort of way. Did Molly Ringwald listen to Bruce Springsteen? She would have loved Johnny Delaware.
3. “Dybbuk” – Remedies. I am transported to a kids’ movie in the ’80s, where I am wandering through an enchanted cave. Something awesome or maybe terrible is about to happen. My hair is still feathered. My jean jacket is on. The viewers are holding their breath. Let’s do this.
4. “Lost Track of Time” – MTNS. The Antlers, How to Dress Well, Vondelpark, and MTNS would be an absolutely incredible soundtrack to a 16 Candles-type movie. You know it’s true.
5. “Electricity” -FMLYBND. It’s like M83, The Rapture, and The Temper Trap collaborated on an ’80s club jam. SET PHASERS TO STUN.
6. “The Day We Both Died” – Vial of Sound. I’m always afraid to namecheck Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem at the same time but screw it SET PHASERS TO KILL
7. “Told You Twice” – Milo’s Planes. Because sometimes you just need a thrashy, scream-it-out tune to blast in your car.
*I’m aware that BTTF3 came out in 1990, but let’s be real. 1990 was still the ’80s.
So, I allude pretty often to my pop-punk roots. I don’t cover it too much, because I mostly stick to the tried and true of my youth, but every now and then something smacks me upside the head and says, “COVER ME.” Milo’s Planes, everybody.
The British punk two-piece is a thrashy, trashy, somehow-still-melodic delight. The hooked me with melodic guitar and bass lines, then amped my interest up by bringing in hollered/distorted vocals, thrashy drums, and mega-distorted background guitars for “Blank Canvas.” By the middle of the song, it feels like the whole thing is going to dissolve into a massive trainwreck; then it resolves into a wicked bass groove … before actually dissolving into a mishmash of distortion. It is absolutely glorious. The rest of the four-song I’ve Lost My Voice Already makes tweaks to this formula, from the more recognizable song structure of “Inhalers” to the frantic pop blast of “The Day We Almost Made It Home.” This is sludgy, lo-fi, emphatic, personal, wild punk, and I love it for that. You know who you are. Go get Milo’s Planes.
And now, for something even farther outside of what I usually cover. By way of introduction and confession, I harbor a gigantic crush on Refused’s “New Noise.” I am cool with the rest of The Shape of Punk to Come, but I get shivers every time I hear Dennis Lyxzén yell, “CAN I SCREAM? YEAH!” I can’t listen to it when I run or I will injure myself by pushing myself too hard. True story. Honningbarna‘s Verden En Enkel at times sounds just like Refused, and I absolutely love it.
Honningbarna knows it’s got dues to pay: opener “Dødtid” has a similar run-up intro before the lead singer screams out “AHHHH!” and the band comes crashing in. (Honningbarna sings in Norwegian, which sets them apart from their Swedish forebears.) AFI, who inherited some of Refused’s sound, is an apt marker for Verden En Enkel as well; Honningbarna can throw down crushing guitars, but they also never saw a group-yelled chorus that they didn’t like. The band’s motives seem more to motivate than destroy eardrums, as the rocket-speed riffs of “Fritt Ord, Fritt Fram” and “Fuck Kunst (Dans Dans)” show a punk band with sonic debts rather than a purposeful recreation of 2000s-era hardcore. They also employ the punk technique of including children’s vocals at several points to make counterpoint the dark mood. At their very AFI-est, Honningbarna sounds like it should be on tour with Davey Havok and co. right now: “Offerdans” has a rapidfire vocal delivery, pounding drums, and an awesome bass solo that would fit perfectly on Sing the Sorrow.
So if you’re into dark, noisy, hardcore-inspired punk, then Honningbarna needs to be on your radar. They really know what’s up when it comes to crafting strong songs out of aggression and melody. I will be running to this album for a while.
Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.