Aspirations Aspirations

While it’s hard to shake the nagging feeling that it’s probably not cool to like this (beats! Catchy melodies! And a dude that sounds like Chuck Ragan?), this EP is fucking great. It’s easily the most perfect punk rock guilty pleasure you’ll hear this year, with its pure pop song structure and production (think that "Graduation Song” by Vitamin C, but really) and total tough guy vocal approach. Plus, a pretty girl voice. Imagine the catchiest Small Brown Bike song you can think of stripped of its aggressive rhythmic backing and replaced by a DJ Shadow track. It’s that awesome/insane. That said, the band manage to miss the mark huge with "Get Fucked,” a song with an awesome title and a Garageband loop that will make you want to break the CD in about 15 seconds, as well as "Paulus Crescent,” which just sounds like a sub-par Victory Records band. That said, this is a debut EP and there are three other songs that will literally melt your brain if you’re open to their slick radness, including the most inspired cover of Jawbreaker’s "Accident Prone” ever. If Aspirations keep up the good stuff, their full-length will probably be unstoppably catchy and unbelievably original. (Underground Operations)