Review: The Injured List – The Difference Between Giving Up & Losing

The Injured List - The Difference Between Giving Up & Losing

There aren’t many bands like The Injured List anymore. The Michigan two-piece’s style of pop rock is nearly totally alien in 2020; a listen through the band’s third LP The Difference Between Giving Up & Losing calls to mind giants of yesteryear like The Audition or Valencia (or even the original incarnation of The Injured List themselves). Perhaps that’s the quality that makes it so replayable.

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Interview: Logan Boyle of Convenient, Trash

Convenient, Trash

Convenient, Trash surprise released their third album, N*VY BLUE, last week through We’re Trying Records. I caught up with vocalist Logan Boyle to discuss N*VY BLUE a little bit – how the writing was different from the previous LPs, the various locales name-dropped throughout, and why the title’s censored. You can check that out below, and be sure to give N*VY BLUE a listen when you do.

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Convenient, Trash – “Lylas House” (Song Premiere)

Convenient, Trash

Pooch, the sophomore LP by Convenient, Trash, has only been out a little over a year, but the Lansing, MI, indie rock troupe are already back with a new single, which we’re excited to premiere for you today. “Lylas House” is the lead single from the band’s upcoming N*VY BLUE, due out September 6th via We’re Trying Records. It’s a good taste of the album – catchy enough to sing along to, but unpolished enough to still feel raw.

It’s the kind of song that would be all over those “best songs of the emo revival” lists half a decade ago. If that sounds appealing to you, be sure to preorder N*VY BLUE, and stream the song below.

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Interview: Kevin Tully of Telethon

telethon

“Where does my brain wander, and where does it party?” asks Kevin Tully of Telethon on “How Long Do I Let It Go For?,” the lead single from his band’s latest record Hard Pop. I caught up with Tully recently to figure out exactly where his brain wandered in the writing of Hard Pop. Our conversation ranged from the scrapped concept record that became Hard Pop, to the miseries of working in fast food. Check out the interview below while you listen along to Hard Pop, which is out now on Take This to Heart Records.

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Sun Cycles – “Bang Bang” (Video Premiere)

Sun Cycles

Sun Cycles, the solo project of Jessica Hottman of The Hottman Sisters, released her latest single “Bang Bang” last week. Today we’re excited to premiere the track’s video. “Bang Bang” is, if you’ll excuse the pun, something of a banger, and I think fans of artists like Betty Who or Halsey would find a lot to love in the indie pop song. Hottman describes the song as:

A song about falling fast in love. It tells the tale of how we often play youthful games, in an attempt to ignore how we really feel. The bridge of the song is that moment when we let go and dive headfirst into those feelings we have, which are often inescapable anyway.

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Interview: Sean McCall of twentythreenineteen

twentythreenineteen

Philly indie rockers  twentythreenineteen just released their debut full-length on Know Hope Records. It’d be easy to call XXIIIXIX an emo album, but that’d sell the band short. They pull from pop, electronic, and even ambient as much as they do emo and emo-adjacent music, and it makes for one of the genre’s most creative and refreshing albums in a long time. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to bandleader Sean McCall about the writing of the record, which is currently available for streaming and purchase.

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Moss Jaw – “What Is Your Composition?” (Video Premiere)

Moss Jaw

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.

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Review: Kayak Jones – You Swear It’s Getting Better Every Day

Kayak Jones

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.

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Interview: Tom Lanyon of Ceres

Ceres

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.

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Review: German Error Message – Mend

German Error Message - Mend

Although it’s officially been spring for a couple of weeks now, we’re still stuck in that middle part of the Venn diagram in between winter and spring. You still need a jacket on your morning commute, but you can change into shorts by lunchtime. It’s still hazy and cloudy, but it’s warming up, and the snow’s been replaced with rain. This is all to say that it’s the perfect weather to listen to German Error Message’s new album Mend.

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Review: Owel – Paris

Owel

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.

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Review: Downhaul – Before You Fall Asleep

Downhaul

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.

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Nightmarathons – “Reset” (Song Premiere)

nightmarathons

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.

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Review: Petrov – Sleep Year

Petrov - Sleep Year

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.

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