BANDY: The Challengers: CS

This has a soulful Mark Sultan quality to the vocals which I very much like, especially in the first song, “Bring the Boys to the Basement.” Otherwise it sounds like shit my dad listened to in the ’70s and never stopped listening to. Snapshot of when rock music was just starting to cut loose before proper punk bands started. The second track is just a cookie cutter blues song about having a need for weed, but they call it reefer. I think my point has been made. –Kayla Greet (Under The Counter)

BASTARD DISCO: China Shipping: CD

Bastard Disco hail from Warsaw with a thick and distorted alternative sound that is very similar to Jawbox. And I have to admit I’m not a fan of Jawbox, so I’ll leave it at that. –Camylle Reynolds (Antena Krzyku, Karoryfer,,

BEAR AWAY: Never in the Same Place: CD/CS

From what I can glean, this is a debut release for a band whose members have previously done time in Failsafe For Tomorrow, Transatlantic Airwaves, plus a bunch of others. If you have a hankering for another band that gives off Iron Chic and Hot Water Music musical vibes then dive right into this. It’s a pretty strong start for a band to even nail down one really noticeable song, but Bear Away manages to pull two out of the bag with “Parts and Labour” and “Growing Up.” The other two tracks have their moments too but just lack the same impact. Strong and interesting twin guitar work plus a really good vocal performance go a long way in making Bear Away a band to keep an eye on. –Rich Cocksedge (Disillusioned,,

BEND OVER BOYS, THE: Self-titled: 10”

Artistically, this record was confusing. I couldn’t tell which side was meant to be the front or back. The music is a bit on the sloppy-drunk side and then there’s the strange cover of Paul Anka’s “Having My Baby.” Listening to these songs made me feel like I was at the macho, male-dominated bar where fights tend to break, and I tend to avoid. –Ryan Nichols (Self-released, no address listed)

BERZERKERS, THE: Can’t Stand Still: LP

Punk steeped in the classic O.C. sound with a heavy slathering of rock mixed in for good measure. Songs are well written and insanely catchy—which offsets the rock component quite nicely—and the band has a polish that sounds like its members have been at this for-friggin’-ever. Still stumps me where Rick consistently finds the caliber of bands he does, and these cats are a fine addition to his already stellar stable. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hostage)

BLAHA: Survival Climb: CS

Skewed, bouncy garage trash from members of Minneapolis’s The Blind Shake. My favorite track is “Who’s That in the Trees?” which sounds like Devo covering ZZ Top. It’s an outlier on an album full of outliers, and every track has something unusual and appealing going on. –Chris Terry (

BLOWBACK: Great Again: 7”

Self-described “protest punk” band Blowback is back with their sixth 7” and first new music in seven years. As one would correctly predict based on the title and what has occurred in their hometown of Washington, D.C. in the intervening years, this record is a little angry. “Out of Control Bullshit” is the most apt song title and mirrors how I feel about everything happening in this horrid Trumpian world. Listening to this desperate, frustrated expression of outrage at high volume does provide some small catharsis. The mocking “I Don’t Need Advice” expresses that exasperated feeling we all get when we hear about the latest pile of idiotic bullshit expelled from that fucking moron’s tiny fingertips, and provides a brief, much-needed dose of humor. This is the kind of punk we need right now. –Chad Williams (Self-released,

BLOWBACK: Great Again: 7”

There is no doubt that this Washington D.C. band is directing the majority of its anger towards the current President of the United States and his administration, a target readymade for punks not only in America but around the world. Blowback might be a hardcore band, but it is not one content on just nailing a song down at breakneck speed. The songs are structured with a variety of speeds, twists, and turns. This highlights a Dead Kennedys’ style of attack, although the title track kick starts proceedings with an early G.B.H guitar and bass drive that is reminiscent of the Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne era. Anything that is anti-Trump is fine by me and more so when it’s this good. –Rich Cocksedge (Stringbreak,

BOO HAG: Marie Laveau: 7”

Big hole, two-song 45 from a band outta South Carolina with a very swampy, dark Americana sound. Sounds like they might have a few Tav Falco records and the Dex Romweber discography in their collections. Very well done for the style and if you like your garage tunes swampy and dark, this would be a great record to add. –Mike Frame (Boo Hag,

BOOB SWEAT: Self-titled: CS

I’ve said for a while that I wanted to start an angry riot grrrl band with all the pop punk pep and upbeat energy of Pkew Pkew Pkew. So catchy but instead of dudes singing about beer, nonmen singing about issues and our lives. Turns out, I’m too late because Boob Sweat, a three piece from Grand Rapids, Mich., has that covered. The EP only has four songs but each could be the standout single on a longer record. The bass line on “Madison Ave” hooked me before I even heard the bright, charming vocals. This might be the catchiest, sing-a-longiest “Fuck you!” I’ve ever heard and to be honest, I’ve looked. I couldn’t help but smile at “TAMP-OFF!” a bouncy melody about inconveniently getting your period. I hope they release a full length soon because I could use more of this in my life. –Lorien Lamarr (Self-released,