The Phantoms “’65-’75” EP

San Diego rock’n’rollers The PHANTOMS offer us 5 covers from the 60s and 70s. The first one, BOWIE‘s “Drive-In Saturday” is very good, well they didn’t change much of it to make it their own, but covering BOWIE has never been the easiest thing to do, and they managed to do it right! JOHNNY KIDD & THE PIRATES‘ classic “Shakin’ All Over” fits the band very well, so does DR FEELGOOD‘s “She Does It Right.” The PHANTOM‘s version of RUFUS THOMAS‘ “Walking The Dog” is quite groovy, and LARRY WILLIAMS‘ “Slow Down” won’t fail to make you dance.
This 5 song EP reminds us that 1965-75 was a crazy time for rock’n’roll, and The PHANTOMS do it with style. /Laurent C.
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Squarecrow “Rammi Jamms”

8 new songs from San Diego’s melodic punk rock band SQUARECROW. Sunny, and full of energy, you’ll easily get hooked on songs like “Sarasota” or “First Flight” and its cool guitar gimmick. “Right On” brings early BAD RELIGION to mind, and songs like “20/20”, “Recipient” (cool metal guitar solo in this one!), and “Afterwards” (you can almost hear some FUGAZI in this one) show us that SQUARECROW are definitely not your typical pop punk band.
SQUARECROW seems to play quite a lot in the US, and you can hear that in these songs that sound tight, but keep a live edge at the same time. You’ll enjoy this record esopecially if you’re into melodic punk, though you already have an excuse for not getting it if you suffer from podophobia. Laurent C.

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The Phantoms “S/T”

Fronted by Victor Penasola (from The ZEROS – the punk rock Zeros, not the purple glam ones-, and drummer for the reunited FLAMIN’ GROOVIES), The PHANTOMS say their music is for fans of rock’n’roll, glam, bubblegum, garage, and everything in between… And well, this isn’t a lie! “Baby Loves Rock’n’Roll” opens this 11 song album in a glammy punk rock’n’roll way somewhere in between The HANGMEN and DUFF MCKAGAN‘s solo stuff. Slide guitar and dirty blues traces can be found in “Coming After You”, and you’ll even find a country song (“One For The Road.”)
The 60s garage influences can mostly be heard in “Chump Change”, while you’ll get a good dose of power pop in “Tears Me Up Inside”, “Stab Me (In My Broken Heart)”, and “Atomic Fireball”, as well as some 70s punk in “Ditch Digger” and “The Ballad Of Overend Watts.”
The PHANTOMS offer us a promising debut album (on Rum Bar Records) mixing the best of rock’n’roll styles, this should be a good reason for you to check this album out!/Laurent C.
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Squarecrow “Oh, Ramona”

SqORSan Diego’s SQUARECROW are back with a full album “Oh, Ramona.” Somewhere between sunny Californian pop punk and 90s emo punk, the band also added a power pop touch to their music in songs like “My Ramona” and “Don’t Worry.”
Up tempo skate punk fans will enjoy “Die Awake” and “Antenna Booster”, RANCID fans might like “Out Like Elliott” and “Let It Burn”, SOCIAL DISTORTION ones will dig “Find My Way”, and if you need to slow down, then just listen to “Lesson Learned” and its 60s influenced guitars, or the acoustic “Half Truths.” On the other hand, “Seventh and Main” would fit more into the hardcore punk category.
As you can hear on this album, the band’s music stands in between several genres, but it’s far from being a bad thing since they’re very good at what they do./Laurent C.

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Squarecrow “B Sides”

coverThis band from San Diego can do magic tricks: They will take you back to the late 90s/early 00s without staying glued to the past. 6 punk rock songs full of guitar melodies/vocal harmonies in a HOT WATER MUSIC/JAWBREAKER way, and choruses made for singalongs (“Dysania”, “Via Cadore.”)
While SQUARECROW sometimes seem to flirt with pop punk/skate punk (“Wayside” -reminding of the great BOSS MARTIANS-, “Colored Red”), you’ll also hear some cool and surprising sunny 60s/mariachi influences in “Barbra” as well as some rockabilly ones in “3 Weeks” that add a lot to the band’s identity.
This is a bit weird that SQUARECROW isn’t more famous, and touring the world right now. Just listen to these songs, and you’ll probably come to the same conclusion./Laurent C.

The Regime “S/T”

San Diego punk rock with big influences from the first (and real) emo bands (FUGAZI, RITES OF SPRINGS, JAWBREAKER…)Honestly, I haven’t been listening to any new band in that style in a long while so I was quite curious to listen to The REGIME. Moreover, there used to be quite a few interesting bands in that style in San Diego in the past (Swing Kids, Drive Like Jehu…)
Starting the noisy battle with a powerful “Dead Like You” that should please every HOT WATER MUSIC fan, the band manages to show another side of their talent as soon as the second song “Mankind” starts, a kind of FUGAZI influenced rock song with a twisted noisy end. It’s kinda surprising to hear that The REGIME can also come close to ska meeting punk rock (in a PROPAGANDHI way) on “She’s Got Nuthin'”, but it’s working in the end.
Other standout moments include pyshotic chaotic hardcore song “Better Days” and demented rockin’ song “By Pattern”. The last 4 songs of the album might not be as captivating as the rest, but all in all this album is a good surprise./Laurent C.