The discourse around Little Oblivions, Julien Baker’s third album, certainly makes it seem like a rebirth. Indeed, with its full-band heft it’s a far cry from the sparse singer-songwriter quasi-folk of her debut Sprained Ankle, a collection of would-be demos by the then-teenage Baker. But for fans of hers, the comparative swell of Little Oblivions should come as no surprise; in retrospect, her sophomore LP Turn Out the Lights was a step in this direction, adding strings and occasionally horns to her usual piano- and guitar-based indie rock. While it contains some of her best songs (“Hurt Less” and “Claws in Your Back” come to mind), its songs were often still too skeletal to hold the weight of all her ideas. Little Oblivions remedies this, and then some.
The spareness of the music behind her voice, on the two previous albums, put an emphasis on her lyrics. They’ve always been a draw of her music; her poignant and honest depictions of alcoholism and depression are gripping enough to stand on their own, and she sings with enough conviction to convert a nonbeliever. While Baker remains an evocative lyricist and a powerful vocalist, the full band adds a whole new dimension to her sound. Baker jokingly warned on Twitter that she’s post-rock now, but there’s some truth to the statement. Nearly every song on the record would still be beautiful without her voice at all, as each builds and swells to give her songs the gravity they’ve always deserved. Read More “Julien Baker – Little Oblivions”
Hanalei will be releasing his fourth LP Black Snow on March 12th via AF Records. While AF is known as a punk label, Hanalei is of decidedly different stock – if you like the folkier side of The Weakerthans or Kevin Devine you’ve got an idea of what to expect from Hanalei. This is never better exemplified than on “Steep Ravine,” the seventh track from Black Snow that we’re premiering today.
Brian had this to say about the song:
[It] draws parallels between the loss of love and the loss of the environment. A female narrator residing in the barren and nearly lifeless western fringes of Marin County, CA is crippled by grief and nostalgia. Memories of rain, redwoods, owls, and a deceased lover paint the monochromatic landscape in every shade of gone.
Stream it below. Read More “Hanalei – “Steep Ravine” (Song Premiere)”
Big Loser put out one of the most underrated albums of last year, Love You, Barely Living. Mixing punk and Americana a la The Menzingers or The Gaslight Anthem, Big Loser catalogued struggles with addiction and relationships coming to an end. But through it all Love You, Barely Living is positively anthemic. The band is getting ready to press the album to vinyl for the first time, nearly a full year after its release. To celebrate, we’re proud to premiere an acoustic session by frontman Chase Spruiell in which he performs “Post-Almost-Overdose” and a performance of Billie Eilish’s “I Love You” acoustic. Stripped down, “Post-Almost-Overdose” takes on a whole new level of melancholy, while his take on “I Love You” retains the haunting atmosphere of the original.
Check those out below, and if you like what you hear, pre-order Love You, Barely Living on vinyl.. Read More “Big Loser – “Post-Almost-Overdose” and “I Love You (Billie Eilish)” (Acoustic) (Video Premiere)”
Mighty has finally properly followed up their 2018 self-titled debut. The following year they dropped the “David’s Park Bench” single, then last year saw the release of a b-sides EP, but now, at long last, they’ve put out their true studio EP followup, You Deal With the Trash. It’s a continuation of the grimy alt-rock sound explored on Mighty, and in many ways also both a refinement and an extension thereof. Angelo Fiaretti, frontman of Mighty, walked us through the EP track-by-track. Read More “Mighty – ‘You Deal With the Trash’ EP Track-by-Track Breakdown”
The revival of beloved emo label Count Your Lucky Stars has been great to watch, and with their recent signing of Florida’s Camp Trash, it looks like the label’s got a bright future again. The four-piece is a bit of an outlier for the label, however; their style of emo is far from the sad, twinkling sort the label made its name on. Instead, Camp Trash draws on the poppier stylings of bands like The Get Up Kids and Saves the Day, but with a modern edge, similar to Oso Oso’s basking in the glow. Downtiming, the band’s debut EP, doesn’t feel like a rehash, though, or a relic. It feels like a statement entirely Camp Trash’s own. Read More “Camp Trash – Downtiming”
Yours Truly released their sophomore LP Self Care this September through UNFD. I caught up with the band to discuss a little bit about the process of recording a music video – for their excellent “Funeral Home” – during quarantine conditions. Read More “Yours Truly”
Goings have signed to the ever-underappreciated Know Hope Records ahead of the release of their new album, It’s For You. The band’s brand of indie-rock, which mixes the math energy of heavyweights like Dryjacket with the quirky pop of a band like Motion City Soundtrack, is sure to warm up your autumn. We’re excited to premiere the band’s latest single, “Trying Dying,” which is a delightful taste of what to expect from their debut LP. Read More “Goings – “Trying Dying” (Video Premiere)”
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. Read More “The Injured List – The Difference Between Giving Up & Losing”
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.
Read More “Logan Boyle of 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.
Read More “Convenient, Trash – “Lylas House” (Song Premiere)”
“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.
Read More “Kevin Tully of Telethon”
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.
Read More “Sun Cycles – “Bang Bang” (Video Premiere)”
US Highball’s Think Again EP, from last year, had a timeless quality to it. It felt like a leftover demo from a long-forgotten K Records band, somewhat twee and dreamy and jangly. And at three tracks and ten minutes, it’s short, sweet, and – importantly – very replayable.
Read More “US Highball – Great Record”
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.
Read More “Sean McCall of twentythreenineteen”
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.
Read More “Moss Jaw – “What Is Your Composition?” (Video Premiere)”