Moss Jaw dropped their debut Embody this past April, and it’s one of the more unique albums I’ve heard this year. An ambitious blend of emo, punk, dream pop, and slowcore, it’s the sort of genre roulette LP bands don’t usually attempt until they’ve established themselves a bit more, but it pays off in spades for the Kalamazoo, MI, four-piece. Case in point is “What Is Your Composition?,” the band’s latest single, the J Ludeker-directed video for which we’re excited to bring you today. Check that out below and be sure to give Embody a listen if you like what you hear.
You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day feels to me like the sort of album that, were it released two decades ago, would net Kayak Jones the legacy of a band like Name Taken. Perhaps not appreciated in their time, but considered a classic in retrospect. Like Name Taken, Kayak Jones is ultimately a pop-punk band, although with a heavy dose of emo influence. While they aren’t the first to play the style, and won’t be the last, they do so in a way that feels refreshing.
Three years ago, when I reviewed Ceres’ sophomore album Drag It Down on You, I said “Tom Lanyon sounds pissed.” But that isn’t the case on We Are a Team. Lanyon sounds happy. Hell, the first line of the record is “I’m gonna get happy.”
That isn’t the case when talking to him, either. He’s quick to laugh, quick to joke, and seemingly eternally grateful to be able to make music that connects with people. I got the chance to talk to Tom about the band’s upcoming We Are a Team, out next week.
Back in February, on this very website, I predicted that Owel’s then-upcoming third album would be “just as vibrant, expansive, and gorgeous as its namesake” Paris. A single listen through reveals that to be true. Paris is a truly beautiful record, and, though it hasn’t even been out a week, it’s not inconceivable that it might be the band’s best yet.
Every Owel album feels like a cinematic experience, and Paris is no exception. Their last album, Dear Me, began the band’s slide towards the more symphonic end of the post-rock spectrum, and Paris pushes even further in that direction. There remains a heavy emphasis on crescendos and orchestral swells, but there seems to be less of a straightforward rock influence on Paris than there was on Dear Me. There are few moments like the catchy chorus of “Annabel” or the belted bridge of “I Am Not Yours” on Paris; instead, the climax of “A Message” is a whirlwind of strings and horns, and violin and piano take center stage on “Get Out Stay Out.” Jay Sakong is still a clear presence – thankfully, as he turns in perhaps his best vocal performance yet – but he doesn’t feel like the focal point of much of the record, giving every member of Owel equal weight.
If there’s a musical equivalent of the bildungsroman (bildungsrecord?), then Downhaul’s debut full-length Before You Fall Asleep certainly qualifies. Throughout the album’s 33 minutes, Gordon Phillips and company try to navigate their twenties – with varying degrees of success. When they do fail, which seems to happen fairly often, they at least come back stronger.
So it is, in fact, when the album begins. “Grace Days” is a slow, drawly opener that stops and starts back up again twice within the first minute, like the band is just getting used to this whole music thing. “Word reaches me that you’re not taking care of yourself,” Phillips sings in the first verse. If you’re expecting some profound words of comfort, you’d be disappointed. He doesn’t call or write to check in, “because I don’t know how to, and that’s something I’ve got to live with.” This becomes a recurring theme on Before You Fall Asleep, that feeling of powerlessness you have over your own life, not to mention those of the people you love.
Pittsburgh punks Nightmarathons are releasing their debut LP Missing Parts on March 29th through A-F Records. Today we’re excited to bring you the latest single from the album, called “Reset.” It’s one of my favorite songs on the album and Chris Feigh said described it as follows:
Reset is about a denial then dread of our transformation with age and what we’ve become with a longing for the past, wanting to go back.
Six months ago Petrov was just a group of musicians connected through Craigslist. Now, this week they’re releasing one of 2019’s more impressive debuts in the form of the Sleep Year EP. Musically, they’re the sort of band that would immediately be labeled “emo” were they from Philadelphia (they hail from Charlotte, NC), and likely only really out of laziness. Their sound is admittedly fairly unique, mixing influences from pop, indie rock, and punk to create a synthesis that captures the best aspects of each.
Downhaul will be releasing their debut full length album, Before You Fall Asleep, on March 29th via Refresh Records. Today we’re excited to premiere the album’s latest single, the nostalgic “Notched.” Vocalist/guitarist Gordon Phillips had the following to say about the song:
“Notched” was actually the first song we had for this album. Musically, it represents a pretty significant departure from the rest of the album — probably because it is the oldest of the songs. I wrote about 90% of the lyrics for this song while sitting at the merch table during a show at Skylark Social Club after seeing a person who had the exact same nose shape as a person who once meant a great deal to me. Memories flooded back all at once.
Even though it’s a bit different from the other songs on Before You Fall Asleep, “Notched” is one of my favorites on the album and it’s sure to appeal to fans of indie rock heavyweights like The Weakerthans or The Hotelier. Check out the song below, and if you like it, be sure to preorder the record.
Pressing play on Nude Shoes’ debut EP Suburban Ceremonies feels like stepping back in time. It’s pop-punk in the vein of Dive-Thru Records, overlapping less with contemporaries than with older bands like Allister or even No Use for a Name. It ends up, as a result, feeling a good deal fresher than much of what the genre produces these days.
Charlotte, NC, math rock band Cuzco will be releasing their debut LP, Sketchbook, on April 19th through Refresh Records. Today we’re excited to bring you the album’s first single, the six-and-a-half minute “Old Dog.” It twists and segues through bursts of horns and twinkling riffs that would make Toe. or TTNG proud with a bit of Clever Girl inspired jazz flavor. Check out “Old Dog” below, and if you like the song, be sure to preorder Sketchbook.
Jetty Bones’ last release, 2017’s Old Women EP, was a bright burst of pop-rock. The band has described it as “a story of progress, growth, and the development of human connection,” and its optimistic message was certainly matched by its jaunty sound. - (pronounced “hyphen”) is the follow-up to Old Women, and the band has – called a more “brisk, contemplative” EP.
Nearly a decade has passed since the last AM Taxi full-length, their debut We Don’t Stand a Chance. Similarly to other acclaimed 2010 albums by punk bands like Against Me!, Titus Andronicus, and The Gaslight Anthem, it was much indebted to rock and roll acts like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; unfortunately, perhaps because of that, the band didn’t quite gain the traction the others did on the album’s release. They spent most of the 2010s since laying low, releasing a couple of EPs, but now they’re back with Shiver By Me, and what a return it is.
Holy Pinto put out an EP last year but they’re already gearing up to release the new full-length, Adult. Today we’re excited to bring you an exclusive premiere of the record’s first single “Daisychain.” If you aren’t familiar with Holy Pinto’s sound, it feels a lot like the lively, poppy indie rock of early Tigers Jaw, and this song is a great display of that. It’s easily one of their best songs yet, and frontman Aymen Saleh had the following to say about it:
The song is about leaving home and the relationships you leave behind to travel and tour. It’s also a nostalgic look at my adolescence, secondary school and growing up. It came to me whilst driving to play at The Fest in Florida – I missed the wristband allocation hours and so the whole first day of the festival because I was parked over in some field in Georgia writing this!
You can stream “Daisychain” below, and, if you like what you hear, be sure to preorder their upcoming LP.
Last month, we premiered the lead single from Ancestors Index’s Ghost. Today, we’re excited to bring the video for the band’s latest single, “Do You Remember?” It’s the album’s closer, a beautiful ballad dotted with strings and acoustic guitars. Check that out below and give Ghost a listen on Ancestors Index’s Bandcamp if you’re interested.
The warm jangle-pop of U.S. Highball is refreshing. Think Again, the duo’s first EP, almost feels like a lost tape from the ’90s recently discovered and released today. It’s saccharine and sincere in a way that indie pop rarely seems to be anymore; not to mention that it’s also extremely catchy.
Typesetter recently signed to 6131 Records and announced their sophomore record – it’s called Nothing Blues and it’s a masterclass in anthemic punk rock. I spoke to Alex Palermo, bassist/vocalist, and Marc Bannes, guitarist/vocalist, about writing the album and what the band did in the four years since their debut. Nothing Blues is out October 26 and is available for preorder through 6131’s store.