#1 - Punk Rock Steady, Mad Caddies
Cruising Nantasket beach on my Sector 9 pintail with Punk Rock Steady humming from my JBL speaker clip... life is good for the moment. It is still early but I think it's safe to say that this will be the record of the summer for me. The well-produced reggae homage to Fat Mike's favorite punk songs is quite a catchy remix. I can't really pick a favorite track, but right now I like the NOFX cover "She's Gone". It's very Sublime-ish, featuring a great epilogue by Interrupter's Aimee Allen. I highly recommend this record and for a $12.00 download straight from Fat Wreck Chords, it's a fair price.
#2 - What a Time To Be Alive, Superchunk
Download this $8 record from Merge right now! It's brand-new Superchunk. What more motivation do you need? This might end up record of the year because it kicks some serious ass from start to finish. Stand out tracks are I Got Cut, Lost My Brain, and Bad Choices. But that's not to discount Dead Photographers and the title track What A Time To Be Alive, which are masterful works of pop-punk balladry. Lyrically, this record is a big critique on the Trump administration and all the right-wingers who've come out of the woodworks. It's ironic, at a time when punk rock's been sort of stale, along comes Superchunk, in their 50's, to remind us how it's done.
#3 - EP: Dear Beer, the Bombpops
This sort of new 4-song EP from the super-hot Bombpops is a good, energy-filled, sing-a-long record. These pop-punkers aren't doing anything new musically, and it's no secret I have a massive crush on singer-guitarist Jen Razavi, but if you liked 90's punk acts like Face to Face and Millencollin, you'll dig this short blast of tunes. If you didn't catch the Bombpops 2017 release Fear Of Missing Out, it's definitely worth a listen. You can download both the new EP and FOMO, also on Fat Wreck Chords for just $12 bucks. Total mood-lifting, car-blasting fun... at a good price! Here's some Bombpop youtube goodness
#4 - While We're At It, Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Dicky Barrett and the gang have a new album, While We're At It. It's the Boston-area ska band's 10th release, and though a lot of their catalog has been forgotten, they are responsible for influencing a ton of great bands from the genre. I was curious to hear their first record in almost a decade. Full disclosure, Dicky is a class of '84 alumni from the school where I work, so out of respect for my Norwood family, I'd never give the new record a bad review... but this one is pretty decent. It's more of that same, soft, ska-core sound they popularized back in the 90's. Stand outs are the opening track Green Bay, Wisconsin and The West Ends. Good cruising music. Thank you Dicky!
#5 - Jericho Sirens, Hot Snakes
This is another release from a band that went on a long hiatus. That seems to be the theme with this summer's top-5. But this is a great record and it's not just because there's a guy getting shacked on the album cover. With track titles like Six Wave Hold Down and Psychoactive you'd think this is some sort of low-fi garage-y surf punk type outfit... but it's not. There's a lot of tension and anxiety in these songs. From the opening track I Need A Doctor all the way through to the finale Death of a Sportsman, this record is moody, aggressive, and in your face. I dig it. You can too for $10 on Sub Pop.
HONORABLE MENTION - Hold Fast, Face to Face
OK, so this record doesn't officially come out until July 27th, but you can find a few tracks released early online. It's not really a new Face to Face album since it's just acoustic covers... of themselves. That's right they covered all of their best pop punk songs with nothing more than acoustic instruments, unplugged. It's a really awesome sing-a-long record if you're already a fan and love these songs... OR if you're some young pop-punk sorority type chick looking for something with substance to replace that god-awful Dashboard Confessional effort you bought back in February.