Man, I always have a soft spot for Californian pop/punk, especially when it’s a young band coming on like the 90’s never ended. And that’s where I introduce you to The Bombpops. Founded in 2007 by dual singer/guitarists Jen Razavi and Poli Van Dam, the 4 piece band take the title of their sophomore album ‘Death In Venice Beach’ from Thomas Mann’s celebrated novella about the price of artistic life.

The follow up to 2017’s ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ it sees the band explore dark themes of alcohol addiction, health problems, toxic relationships and suicide all wrapped up in high energy punk pop.

 

But the dark lyrical themes are certainly not the first thing that hits you about The Bombpops. The SoCal sound that inspires the band is prevalent throughout, you could say ‘Death In Venice Beach’ sounds like the lost 90’s soundtrack you need to fill the hole between ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘Josie and the Pussycats’.

Take latest single ‘Double Arrows Down’. Lyrically inspired by Poli Van Dam’s diabetes seizure and subsequent dice with death, it’s actually a euphoric blast of dual vocal melody and overdriven guitars, with a sugar-buzz pop melody that will inject sunshine into anyone’s dreary day. Sweet vocal melodies The Dollyrots would die for and the sort of catchy choruses Letters To Cleo perfected in their prime.

And so it continues for 30 minutes or so. 12 short, sharp, shocks of punk pop that do not overstay their welcome. Songs that would’ve bombarded the airwaves back in the day and singles that would’ve been vying for attention with the likes of Bowling For Soup and Sum 41 on your TV screens.

 

‘Dearly Departed’ name-checks doomed celebrity couples over high energy pop/punk. Sid & Nancy rub shoulders with JFK & Monroe as Jen & Poli deliver pitch perfect vocal harmonies and dirty guitars in unison. A tight rhythm section and a crisp production courtesy of (among others) NOFX’s Fat Mike only adds to the high quality.

With the likes of ‘Sad To Me’ and ‘Zero Remorse’ they have a knack of delivering a verse that create momentum and builds to what you just know is going to be an anthemic, killer chorus that will stay in your brain long after the song has ended. The girls’ vocals work well together and it is that, along with the top notch songwriting, which lifts this album high above the current competition.

The bouncy bass intro and the offset guitar riff in ‘Notre Dame’ will bring to mind The Offspring, ‘In The Doghouse’ comes on like The Creepshow at their most commercial and the raw tale of isolation and heartbreak that is ’13 Stories Down’ sounds like a female-fronted NOFX. Elsewhere you’ll swear you’ve heard the likes of ‘Radio Silence’ and ‘House On Fire’ before. And that my friends, is the knack of a catchy melody put to very good use.

 

There are lots of comparisons that can be made to lots of cool bands when listening to ‘Death In Venice Beach’ and that’s not a bad thing. The Bombpops wear their influences proudly on their sleeves and have their own imitable style and their own way of exorcising their own personal demons with a set of strong, bouncy tunes.

To be honest, you could imagine any of the 12 songs on offer to be featured on MTV, with the band playing next to a swimming pool or a frat house in California, surrounded by teens with nothing more on their mind than pulling the hottest cheerleader and downing a four pack. And while in these troubled times those sort of antics may seem as distant a memory as the 90’s actually are, it’s still the great escape some of us need right now.

Buy ‘Death In Venice Beach’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

What with lockdown entering its gazillionth week we scour the net for new tunes to brighten your day but I think we’ve reached the point where a little darkness might be the order of the day rather than sunshine and roses. so here’s NOFX to lighten the mood. Welcome to the darkness kids

Enough darkness how about some boot boy Rock and Roll courtesy of the new one from Faz Waltz?  OK, Here goes your wish is my command and up this week on RPM we review the brand new album from Faz Waltz.

Finally, we love Johny Skullknuckles round ere so when we see he has a video to accompany the song he wrote and recorded on less than 24 hours it would be rude of us not to show it.  So here goes. ‘This City’

Cokie the Clown Limited Edition Throbblehead
Limited to 1000 hand-numbered figures
SHIPPING EARLY DECEMBER
 
**Not guaranteed for delivery by Christmas, although most US customers should be OK***
NOTE: For customers outside of the US, your order will take an average of 4-5 weeks to reach you via economy shipping, which does not have tracking. If tracking is needed, you can upgrade to priority shipping at an additional cost but must email us for details.

Cokie the Clown, Fat Mike’s alter ego, has now been elevated to Throbblehead status.  This figure is limited to just 1000 hand-numbered units, stands at 7″ tall, and is made of a high-quality polyresin.

Re-creating the cover art from Cokie’s first full-length album “You’re Welcome,” this Throbblehead comes complete with noose, squirting flower, and clown shoes.

“Punk rock was never just music to me, it was my life,” says Cokie. “My parents were just relatives, my family was always NOFX.”

We’re going to start this week’s Rainy Days and Mondays with BadCop/BadCop and a track taken from their second album ‘Warriors’

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Keeping it Fat Wreck Chords with a brand new album in the bag Mean Jeans are here to tell you that ‘Steve Dont Party No More’

Finally Fat Wrecks Favourite sons NOFX with an olden but golden ‘Six Years On Dope’

Fat Mike NOFX.  Yeah, right now you sit up and pay attention well come a little closer because this is not NOFX it doesn’t sound like NOFX even if Fat Mike is Cokie The Clown. This is dark in a very late night and I shouldn’t drink whiskey and do blow kinda way’ oh, and listen to Tom Waits. More like E from Eels than NOFX and that’s a good thing.  Sure he could have clowned around and down a dumb punk record and made a mint off the back of it but he hasn’t he’s gone for the piano and miserable vocal angle.

 

‘Bathtub’ is almost three minutes of one sad voice and a sparse piano and to be fair ‘Fair Leather Friends’ is more of the same if not a little more uptempo (steady on punk rocker not that uptempo) and it has a cello and some hi-hat and snare and if you must know its endearing and really fuckin’ good.  Why wouldn’t it be?

If you think E and Tom Waits you won’t be far off the mood of the record it has been said it’s not a happy record (they got that right) but it is a very good record.  It shows Fat Mike has hidden depths and can indeed turn his hand to writing some great dark melancholy music there are some great arrangments like ‘Swing And A Miss’ and he looks inside the dark corners of his mind to dig up songs like ‘Down With The Ship’ and the grande Harpsichord led ‘Negative Reel’  the album has ten tracks, the album also features a who’s who of A-list talent that assisted him throughout the recording sessions. Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails) produced ‘You’re Welcome’;  Travis Barker played drums and Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses contributed keyboards! Baz (a French musician), who Fat Mike collaborated heavily with on the album has to take some credit for what is a really impressive record but for being so different from what I was expecting.  The pop melodies that make up ‘That Time I Killed My Mom’ well I did say it was dark!.  its all wrapped up in a really fine piece of Cover art painted by the talented Natalia Fabia.

‘Fuck You All’ is like Fat Mike doing his best Cranford Nix and it builds to the most upbeat song on the record (musically that is I can’t mislead you into thinking ‘Fuck You All’ is upbeat).

So Fat Mike exposes his soul and releases an absolute winner. Ten tracks, dark, simple (ish), excellent!  My final words have to be – buy it, just for the autobiographical ‘Punk Rock Saved My Life’ epic!  If you want to hear NOFX then go do so this most certainly isn’t and I’m good with that because this is the business.

 

Buy You’re Welcome Here

Author: Dom Daley