Lansing punk band Little American Champ released a new EP last week entitled “Nothing Forward, Nothing Backward”.

Here’s a review.

Courtesy of the Little American Champ Bandcamp page

Little American Champ is Jonny Janis (guitar/vocals), Alex Janis (bass/vocals) and Danny Petrilli (drums/percussion).

This three piece has a ringing┬áresemblance┬áto other bands (Lemuria, Against Me and The Riot Before come to mind) while holding true to their Midwest roots. Sometimes the lead vocals have a Tom Gabel-esque approach in their melodic shouting ways. I really like them but they’re not really original. Heard it a million times but that’s OK. I could say the same for the guitars, drums, bass…everything about this band is something I’ve heard before. Not a bad thing at all.

For some bands, they play a style other bands also play down to a tee but what matters with a band like Little American Champ is the amount of heart and soul they put into their music. When they play their songs, they play the hell out of them. They love what they do. That energy is apparent all over this four song EP.

On a song like “We’ve Been On a Roll Lately”, with its distorted, feedback-laden intro and powerchords aplenty, Jonny sings the chorus of “relax and repeat” as the powerchords follow his vocal lead. The breakdowns are melodic and have room to breath with a rotating drum pattern, leading to a breakdown then a build up of cymbal crashes and droning power chords. Good stuff from this three piece.

The rhythm section is extremely tight and concise. Not a note or drum hit is wasted. The bass doesn’t have the hardcore punch but it’s not wimpy either. I like this rhythm section. I like this whole group as a musical unit. Sometimes even with a three piece the members can drift off into their own worlds but here, they act as one toward their goal of playing the best they can as a unit. Again, not a note is wasted.

“What’s the Secret, Max?” has the Gabel-like vocals I hinted at earlier. Jonny sings “I don’t have anything to report” and later “thank fucking God that you stayed home”. Although, I will say, it is a bit hard to understand his voice. I hear the lyrics correctly here and there but not the whole way through (maybe it’s just me and maybe my hearing’s going downhill worse than I thought).

Everything about this four song EP is essential Midwest punk. Honest, blistering, quick. The whole thing lasts about 15 minutes. Go check it out and download it for free. Do that here.