Riffing: Yup. Like ugly meth slams in a singlewide alongside sweaty dudes old enough to know better.
Reference points: Anthrax welcomes back poodle-headed (and Dio fetishist) singer Joey Belladonna, who sounds exactly like 1988. The hairy "Revolution Screams" is best and could scare anyone right off Yahoo's Leftist Trainspotter group. Killer kudos for the walking dead self-parody ("I'm Alive"), for the sonic altar to Judas Priest, and the wisdom to not sound all AA.
If you like: Sword 'n' sorcerer man-play, skulls and shit ...
Stories From a Fractured Youth
Riffing: Surprisingly great rock balladry by punk elder Mick Rossi (Slaughter and the Dogs' teen guitar hero) and singer-designer Christopher Wicks (English Laundry). Bittersweet sentiments and chord changes, piano, organ and violins inspire longing.
Reference points: Oasis missed writing "Northern Soul," and "Help" (with Scott Weiland) pleads in its airy, decelerated Beatles makeover. Sex Pistol Steve Jones and the Cult's Billy Duffy add filth and fury to requisite rocker "Sex in China."
If you like: Ian Hunter, Billy Bragg, Ronnie Lane, Oasis.
Junk of the Heart
Riffing: Same top-down English afternoon pop as before, but with nighttime moments of beauty ("Street lights light up my shame," etc.).
Reference points: Singer Luke Pritchard's voice can send butterfly flutters up girls' skirts, and he sounds like an innocent kid by accident, as if he's still growing into "big kid" shoes worn by pop Peter Pans like Stephen Duffy or Bryan Ferry. "Eskimo Kiss," "Rosie" and "Taking Pictures of You" stun.
If you like: Lykki Li, dub light, Supergrass, Kinks.
Riffing: Be suspicious of anything sounding too happy, 'cause real songs live beyond irony, and true cute pop has a dark side.
Reference points: Power popper "Too Young to Kill" aches for inclusion on New Girl, and brutish dance beats — kabob-skewed Giorgio Moroder or ABBA or something — better top contemporary tunesmiths at their own game. So? A dark experience on Warner Bros. (called Natalie Portman's Shaved Head) informs "Black Wedding."
If you like: Sparks, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry, Cars and songs with sonic exclamation points!
Morning After Girls
Riffing: Out for months now, Alone is classic Aussie in the shimmery sense, like early Church. Calling MAG shoegaze is dismissive; this is guitar pop in all of its arresting sexiness and melancholic joy. Go-to genres include psyche, pop, shoegaze, folk, ambient, glam.
Reference points: Cheeky nod to White Album cover art. Five lean, sartorially pleasing dudes with good, unkempt hair.
If you like: Ride, Church, Dandy Warhols, early Pink Floyd and Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Oct. 18 at Small's, Hamtramck.