Of the bands to emerge from Dalston, England's lo-fi/no-fi scene since 2008 (Graffiti Island, Pens, Mazes), Male Bonding are the ones whose pop-punk sensibilities have always been the strongest. Taking heavy cues from Hüsker Dü and the Wipers, sweetened with sticky hooks, power-pop riffs, and overall youthful exuberance, the trio formed three years ago, and quickly put out 7-inch singles and three-way-split tapes via their own DIY label Paradise Vendors. Getting picked up by Sub Pop for their 2010 debut tightened up their scuzzy, distortion-heavy sound, but their sophomore follow-up Endless Now moves them to an exponentially more listenable aesthetic. With less compression, descriptors like "fuzzy" or "sloppy" are now irrelevant. (Download opening track "Tame the Sun" for the best example.) The trio's punk roots still play out via tight, punchy percussion, but it's the huge guitars and dreamy vocals that are most upfront — plus the addition of piano, cello, mellotron, and harmonies by Frankie Rose. It's the longest they've spent in a studio — two weeks with producer John Agnello (Thurston Moore, Dinosaur Jr.) — and it shows. Every track is a potential single, like the shoegazey "Can't Dream," the drums-driven "What's That Scene," and the spaced-out six-minutes of "Bones." Endless Now is a record that will appeal equally to fans of the Buzzcocks or Blink- 182, and that rules.
MALE BONDING + LOVE INKS + GIRLFRIENDS | Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston | August 31 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $10 | 617.779.0140