Morning Glory, “Born to December” 7-inch

cover - morning glory bornIf punks are going to go pop, why bother to redress old chords in a new way? Why not blast through to the other side, going fully orchestral? Morning Glory‘s newest a-side, “Born to December,” owes more to late ’60s / early ’70s orchestral pop like Lynn Anderson’s “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” or overture numbers to rock musicals than it does to actual pop-punk.

With its quiet introduction that builds to a running rock middle, ending with swelling strings and chorused vocals, this fits in with the likes of Hedwig & the Angry Inch‘s “Wig In A Box” more than anything else. It’s astonishing and energetic, and hearing Ezra Kire sing — actually sing — for a good long while before breaking into his familiar rasping scream makes this seem like another band entirely from the band that recorded the crack rocksteady anthems of The Whole World Is Watching.
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Night Birds, “Maimed for the Masses” 7-inch

cover - maimed for the massesIf you’ve heard the streaming version of Night Birds‘ newest single, “Maimed for the Masses,” do yourself a favor and go buy the 7-inch. You’d think that surf-punk wouldn’t be harmed by audio compression for online play, but the physical version of the track just sounds so much more clean.

The song, an ode to “Mrs. Foley’s baby boy” (aka Cactus Jack, aka Dude Love, aka Mankind, aka New York Times bestselling author Mick Foley) is a surprisingly touching first-person perspective story of Foley’s hardcore history in the squared circle.
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Teenage Bottlerocket, “Mutilate Me” 7-inch

cover-mutilate-meTeenage Bottlerocket
Mutilate Me
(Fat Wreck Chords)

On the title track of this new single, “Mutilate Me,” Teenage Bottlerocket manages to change up their usual “1234!” song structure, and go for something a little more akin to what you might hear on MxPx’s Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo.

Yes, I know that it’s fairly much semantics to discuss the various iterations of pop-punk chord progressions. Most of the last TBR record, They Came From the Shadows, had more of a mid-’80s skate punk vibe, however, so it’s interesting to see them moving to almost the opposite end of the pop spectrum with a song that features tempo changes and some nice riffage. The slightly sexual tone of the song is a lyrical shift, as well. “Hey, I don’t get off that easily / So don’t take it easy on me” are certainly a switch from “Bloodbath At Burger King.”
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