Pop punk

Lavender Scare: “I Hate Saturdays”

Pride Month kicks off in just a few days, and to help you celebrate in style, we’re swirling the colors with a rising Queer project. And that’s Lavender Scare, whose midcentury reference of a band handle alone tips you off to their championing of LGBTQ identities.

Chief songwriter Ruby Del Mar commands the quartet with high-octane vocals and riveting rhythm guitar, collectively creating what they call “slop pop punk”. And based on what we’ve heard from their upcoming debut Bites, that’s a pretty accurate classification; the power chord subdivisions and instrumental synchronization might not be perfectly precise at these breakneck tempos, but with pop-inspired chord sequences and radio-friendly runtimes, this four-track introduction almost sounds like Against Me! mixed with Yellowcard, all with a bit of a Queer Texas twist.

We’ll be able to sink our teeth into Bites when it hits streaming this Friday or in-person for the record release show 8PM next Thursday at 13th Floor alongside Shysters and Reality Refugee. But until then, embark on Lavender Scare’s snark with the EP’s lead, “I Hate Saturdays”, because like the anthem to a bizarro, weekend-loathing Garfield, this loneliness-engendered tune’s gonna leave you hungry for more.

Dad’s Home: “Automatic Reply: No Thanks”

Ever since punk rock took off in the late ’70s, it’s expanded and matured into a ton of subgenres. Its kiddo pop-punk, on the other hand, is more like a Lost Boy from Neverland; it never grew up and that’s the way we like it. So when we look at the robust roster of pop-punk acts right here in our city limits, it fills us with a one-of-a-kind juvenile joy.

Embodying that theme of youth is Austin quintet Dad’s Home. Although its five members had already cut their teeth in groups like Quiet Company, Kingsley, Cruiserweight, and Closet Drama, Dad’s Home didn’t kick off until last summer. Following the concrete-scuffed footsteps of their pop-punk forefathers, Dad’s Home dropped their delightfully-uncouth debut EP My Sitcom Life on New Year’s Eve, almost as a resolution to keep following their favorite genre’s fast and fun formulas.

But since punk depends most on its live performance aspect, Dad’s Home riles up some more of that paternal testosterone with a show 9PM this Thursday at The Mohawk along with Bad Lives, Space Tan, and Midcard. The occasion? “Automatic Reply: No Thanks” – an emotional rollercoaster over perfect palm muting, superb group vocals, insane drum fills and a sense of instrumental unity which reminds us that being loud doesn’t signal a lack of taste.

Sweet Slacks: “Cruise Control”

There’s no sensation quite like discovering a new artist, and when a group has really fun song titles, that joyous curiosity can show up well before you even press “play”. One glance at track names like “Tijuana Blowout”, “Check Please”, and “Whiskey Diviner” clues you into the inherent lighthearted friendship that fuels Austin quartet Sweet Slacks. Like a perfect pair of trousers, over the the past four years Sweet Slacks has seamlessly slipped into their hem of harmony-heavy, guitar-driven indie rock and pop-punk. Sweet Slacks’ three studio EPs came out in a two-year sprint (between their January 2019 debut Fever Breaks and their latest, October 2020’s Strays). But recently they’ve hit a stride that matches closer to the pedestrian pace of our pandemic-era. Sweet Slacks has sewn three standalone singles over the last few months, each toting an inseam of matured, retro-beckoning indie. So with sultry showers dominating our skies, you can switch on “Cruise Control”, set your sights on the crying clouds, and let your foot tap to its fullest – no pants required.

Ram Vela & The Easy Targets: “Worcester”

Pop-punk. Alt-rock. Whichever genre classifiers you choose, it’s ultimately rowdyism and virility that defines Ram Vela & The Easy Targets. Ram Vela & The Easy Targets got started in 2018 and quickly established a brand of melodic punk rock and athletic, adrenaline-drenched live shows. Translating the Austin four piece’s fierce power into the studio without sacrificing the charm of onstage chaos seems Herculean, but Ram Vela & The Easy Targets have pulled it off with impressive accuracy and precision.

Late last week the quartet shared their debut album, Stuck on Yesterday, and we’re positive Ram Vela & The Easy Targets won’t miss the mark when they perform Saturday, August 6th at The Ballroom. So get revved up with Ram Vela & The Easy Targets and share their love of living in our Lone Star location with one of the more energetic and explicit offerings off Stuck on Yesterday (apologies in advance to all the Bay Staters out there) – “Worcester”.