Christ. Did I die? Is there really new music from The Unlovables and Dirt Bike Annie in 2015? I feel like I’m 20 again. I’m going to try and be as objective as I can, but these two bands were my early 20s. They are two of my favorite pop punk bands in the world.
The Unlovables are on the A-Side, so let’s talk about them first. I first heard them on a compilation in 2005. The first song I heard from them was “Doot Da Doot,” and I was totally into it. I didn’t get around to actually getting their record until I heard “If You Were Here” on the Bubblegum Attack: World Compilation that came out shortly after. It was over after that. This was my band. Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak is one of my favorite pop punk records of any era. Heartsickle is right up there too. Then 2008 came along, they called it a day. It sucked.
Dirt Bike Annie was a band that I got into too late. I had found a copy of Hit The Rock! at a Disc Replay in late 2003. It was the year they released their last record. They were still a band for another two years, but weren’t releasing new music. It was one of those really disappointing things. Like, oh you like this band? Too bad, they’re done.
But, here we are. It’s 2015, and both bands are back. I’m definitely looking through nostalgia goggles a little bit, but that doesn’t really matter. Both bands have more or less picked up right where they left off. If anything, they are cementing their place as definitive pop punk bands. It’s fantastic.
The Unlovables definitely represent that early 2000s pop punk sound. Heavy dashes of old Lookout Records mixed with their contemporaries that were putting out stuff on Stardumb and Whoa-Oh. It’s very much that bubblegum, Ramones type pop punk. Super bouncy, super poppy, and just a lot of fun to listen to. “Miracle Braves” and “Worthwhile” would fit right in on Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak. “1996” and “Skip A Stone” would be cozy on Heartsickle. Their six songs on Reunion Show are perfect. This is a perfect intro to the band, and the genre.
Dirt Bike Annie date back to the mid-90s. They definitely embody the old Mutant Pop style of pop punk. More power pop, less Ramones. Great hooks, great vocal interplay, and a strong start/stop style of playing. They are a band that never got big, and I never understood it. “Saludos A Todos” and “Have You Ever Slept The Night Alone” show how strong this band is vocally. They’ve got super vocal harmonies. “Cynical” is a slower paced song, it’s built around a midtempo acoustic guitar. The vocal harmonies on it are top notch as well. Dirt Bike Annie is a band that always makes me think of huge choruses, even on slower songs. The only downside is that, outside of these song, nothing else is really streaming anywhere. It’s going to make it hard for people to really check them out.
Look, just give this split a listen. Fan of the bands will love everything on the damn thing. Fans of the genre will feel right at home. Check out the back catalog for both bands. The Unlovables have their stuff on Bandcamp, Dirt Bike Annie have their stuff on iTunes. You won’t be disappointed.