Smoking Popes / Koufax (early show)

Record Bar

When Morrissey calls your debut record "the most loveable thing I'd heard in years," you've got something good going. Smoking Popes enjoyed the adoration of their hometown Chicago and beyond throughout most of the '90s, releasing two widely acclaimed albums of uncommonly melodic pop-punk and scoring a hit with "Need You Around." The group is mounting a comeback of sorts with "Stay Down," a new album released via Kansas City's Appeal Records. The record proves resoundingly that the Popes haven't lost a step, and-lyrically at least-may have gained some ground on their former selves.Adoptive Lawrence son Rob Suchan recently wrapped up a new Koufax record with help from locals Dustin Kinsey, Nathan Harold, John Anderson and Ryan Lallier. "Strugglers" is targeted for a Sept. 23 release date, but Suchan's touring ensemble is already featuring it alongside cuts from catchy-as-hell albums like "Hard Times Are in Fashion" and "Social Life."

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