In a year full of promising debuts, Mighty’s self-titled LP stands out. It captures the gritty energy of the debuts by fellow southern indie rockers All Get Out and Microwave – look no further than lead single “Safe and Sound” – but with a charm all its own. Last week I had the chance to speak to bandleader Angelo Fiaretti about writing this album. The album is out this Friday and if you’re interested you can pre-order it through their label.
After listening to Illuminati Hotties’ first single, “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” it would be reasonable to assume the project’s debut album would be full of similarly jaunty vaguely-surfy indie pop songs. That’s maybe half-right. Kiss Yr Frenemies is about a fifty-fifty split of bright fuzzed-out jams and moodier, slow-burning ballads.
If the lead single represents the former category, then second single “Cuff” is probably most indicative of the latter. It’s ambient and atmospheric, and even its blown out chorus feels restrained compared to the loudest moments on the record, Sarah Tudzin’s voice never rising above a plaintive croon. It doesn’t even sound like the same band as “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” let alone like it belongs on the same album. And this is a trend throughout Kiss Yr Frenemies; nearly every single song brings something entirely different to the table. There’s an “ooh-ooh-ooh” backed chorus on the sugary gem “Paying Off the Happiness,” there’s a noisy, brassy climax to the meditative “For Cheez (My Friend, Not the Food),” there’s the raw singalong energy of “boi,” and none of it feels out of place.
Austin, TX, math rock band Honey and Salt will be releasing their sophomore album, Honey and Salt, next week via Spartan Records. I got the chance to sit down with vocalist/guitarist Wade Allen and bassist Austin Sears about the writing of the record, fighting nihilism, and the best band that ever was, Fugazi.
I wrote about Animal Flag at the beginning of the year for our most anticipated albums of 2018 and predicted their new album being “a stunner.” Now they’ve announced that album – it’s called Void Ripper and it comes out on April 13 via Flower Girl and Triple Crown Records – and I can assure you it’s a stunner indeed. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to frontman Matt Politoski about the writing of the record and the break away from Christianity that inspired it.
When Out of Service burst onto the scene last year with What We Bring With Us, it was the sound of a band indebted to the sounds of the early 2000s. Bands like Jimmy Eat World, Cartel, and Taking Back Sunday had left fingerprints all across the EP, making for a pleasant if not entirely unique introduction to the New Jersey band. Still, the energy and talent on display were undeniable, and thankfully, on Morning, Out of Service have come into their own.
The title of Black Foxxes’ sophomore album, translated from Icelandic, means “rage.” Presumably, it comes from a lyric on the album’s closer “Float On”:
Now I understand rage, a feeling that is never subdued.
While Mark Holley’s assessment of the feeling is accurate, it doesn’t sum up the record quite so well. In fact, the biggest difference between Reiði and the band’s debut I’m Not Well is how much more subdued this record is.
Spanish Love Songs will release their new album Schmaltz on March 30th. It’s one of the freshest and most honest punk rock records in recent memory. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with vocalist Dylan Slocum and he told me about the delicate art of opening a record and embracing dad punk.
In January, Awakebutstillinbed released their debut album, What People Call Low Self-Esteem Is Really Just Seeing Yourself the Way That Other People See You – an early contender for album of the year – and signed to Tiny Engines Records. I was lucky enough to speak to vocalist Shannon Taylor about the record, the history of the band, and what makes an emo band.
A Whole Fucking Lifetime of This is a sort of new beginning for Sam Ray. While it isn’t a far cry from the sound that made the band (previously known as Teen Suicide) popular, with a charming lo-fi pop sound, it takes American Pleasure Club to totally new heights and finds them incorporating a host of new influences into their style.
Next week, Pianos Become the Teeth will release their fourth full-length, Wait for Love. It takes the band even further down the path their 2014 effort, Keep You, blazed and expands upon it, taking the band’s sound in totally new directions. I recently spoke with vocalist Kyle Durfey about the process of writing the album and following up such a radical change in sound.
After putting out an EP a year for the past four years, Toy Cars are finally ready to release their debut full-length. Paint Brain, which more than doubles the band’s catalog, is the clear culmination of where they’ve been headed since the Red HandsEP. If you haven’t been paying attention, allow me to explain exactly where it is they’ve been headed. Paint Brain occupies the space between rock and roll bands like The Menzingers (yeah, I know) and The Gaslight Anthem, and overlaps with emo acts like The Hotelier or Oso Oso. It feels equally fresh and familiar.
When I listen to Champagne Colored Cars, I’m reminded of one of 2016’s biggest surprises for me, Tiny Moving Parts’ Celebrate. Both Celebrate and Champagne Colored Cars’ debut self-titled EP are mathy emo albums with more than just a little post-hardcore influence – but both manage to be so much damn fun. Now, to be sure, Champagne Colored Cars is significantly less technical than anything Tiny Moving Parts has ever released, and to me, that’s a bit of a bonus; it gets tiring sometimes when every band wants to be “American Football But Heavy.”
Triple Crown Records has been putting out some of the scene’s most essential records for twenty years now, so it makes sense that their anniversary show ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. The four-band show had a mix of styles that spoke to the variance in sound the label has always had; a fan of almost any kind of music could’ve found a set to like. I ran through some of my favorites below.
Gleemer’s fourth full-length album, Anymore, comes out next month. It’s a big jump for the band, as it’s their first release on Other People Records – or, for that matter, any label. Last week I spoke with vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Corey Coffman about the jump to the label, the concept of Anymore, and the weird process of choosing its album cover.
There’s very little solace to be found in Mineral Girls’ This Is the Last Time Every Time. The world the characters inhabit is an indifferent – if not outright cruel – one to be certain, but most of the anguish on display here comes from inside. “I’m not trying to get any better / I’m just trying to make it look like I am,” becomes something of a mantra for the record.
This Is the Last Time Every Time is an appropriate title for an album as concerned as this one is with trying to change. The title of the opener (from which comes the above lyric) is “Let’s Talk About Us,” after all. And the song is just as cathartic as it sounds. See, for all the intensity behind the lyrics, the band behind them matches it pound for pound. For the most part, they’ve ditched the fuzz from Cozy Body in favor of a rougher, more straightforward emo sound. “The Bruise on We” begins with a Mineral-style riff, building and building to a post-hardcore climax, complete with harsh shrieks. It’s the only moment like it on the album, but it feels totally necessary. Elsewhere, like the title track, the band introduces electronics into their sound.
In 2003, The Appleseed Cast released Two Conversations, the followup to their critically acclaimed two-disc Low Level Owl project. Fans were disappointed. Two Conversations was decidedly more commercial than Low Level Owl; the ambiance was replaced with melody and, it seemed to fans, the band traded ambition for accessibility. It’s true that Two Conversations shifted away from the unrepentant post-rock sound of the Low Level Owl CDs, but it’s also true that it’s an impressive album in its own right, even if it isn’t what was expected out of The Appleseed Cast. Most have come around to that by now.
I foresee something similar happening with Prawn’s new album, Run. 2014’s Kingfisher was unanimously praised on release by fans and critics alike. The record’s blending of emo and punk with post-rock made for an engrossing listen – one you can sing along to as well as brood to. Like Two Conversations, Run is a far more straightforward album than its predecessor. It’s more Into It. Over It. than Moving Mountains, let’s say – especially when the punk influence shines through on songs like “Empty Hands” and “Snake Oil Salesman.” The latter of which is a highlight on the record; Tony Clark shouting, “I know what you’ve been selling,” is one of the most fun moments in the band’s whole discography.