by: Tommy DeSilva
Touché Amoré - Stage Four - (Epitaph Records)
Touché Amoré is a Hardcore/Emo band from Los Angeles, CA. Their highly anticipated new album entitled Stage Four, which marks the band’s 1st full length release to put out by Epitaph Records (as well as their 4th full length release overall), is a super awesome record that can be characterized by upbeat drumming, loud and distorted guitars, screaming vocals, and emotionally compelling lyrics. With that being said, the sounds heard on this album can be compared to those heard from many other well-known Hardcore/Post-Hardcore/Emo bands on the scene today such as: La Dispute, Pianos Become The Teeth, Balance And Composure, Defeater, and My Iron Lung. It is very important to note that the lyrical content of this record is not for the faint of heart, seeing that the entire album discusses frontman Jeremy Bolm’s struggle to cope with the passing of his mother Sandra, who lost her battle to cancer a little over two years ago (hence the name, Stage Four). Tracks to definitely check out on this album include: “Flowers And You,” “New Halloween,” “Rapture,” “Displacement,” “Benediction,” “Palm Dreams,” and “Skyscraper.”
Toy - Clear Shot - (Heavenly Recordings)
Toy is an Alternative/Rock band from the UK. Their highly anticipated new album entitled Clear Shot, which marks the band’s 3rd full length release to be put out by Heavenly Recordings, is a really awesome and unique record that can be characterized by its soft and soothing vocal melodies, twangy/phased out guitars, thick/groovy baselines, and an eclectic use of unusual sounding instruments/sounds (i.e. synthesizers, sound clips, etc). With that being said, the sounds heard on this album can be compared to those heard from many other well-known U.S. Alternative/Rock bands on the scene today such as: Yuck, Wavves, Balance And Composure, The Horrors, and Temples. Influences of My Bloody Valentine can be heard all over this record as well. Tracks to definitely check out on this album include: “Clear Shot,” “Another Dimension,” “Fast Silver,” “I’m Still Believing,” and “Clouds That Cover The Sun.”
Crocodiles - Dreamless - (Zoo Music)
Crocodiles are a two piece Alternative/Dream Pop band from San Diego, CA. Their new album entitled Dreamless, which is the band’s 3rd full length release to be put out by Zoo Music (as well as their 6th full length release overall) is a really awesome and unique record that shows a dramatic stylistic shift from the band’s previous releases. Characterized by soft and soothing vocal melodies, intricate guitar parts, thick/groovy baselines, and an eclectic use of unusual sounding instruments/sounds (i.e. synthesizers, sound clips, drum machines, etc.), the sounds heard on this album can be compared to those heard from many other well-known artists of the past and present such as: The Cure, Toy, Dum Dum Girls, and The Smiths. Tracks to definitely check out on this record include: “Telepathic Lover,” “Welcome To Hell,” “I’m Sick,” and “Not Even In Your Dreams.”
The Blind Shake - Celebrate Your Worth - (Goner Records)
The Blind Shake is a Punk Rock/Garage Rock band from Minneapolis, MN. Their new album entitled Celebrate Your Worth, is a really awesome record that has a pretty unique sound to it. Characterized by loud and distorted guitars, groovy bass lines (actually played by a baritone guitar), and a shitload of reverb, the sounds heard on this album can compared to those heard from many other well-known Punk Rock/Garage Rock bands on the scene today such as: Fuzz, OBN IIIs, and Zig-Zags. On top everything mentioned above, the band also experiments with a handful of different special effects to further enhance their sound, which I think is pretty cool. They also throw some Surf Rock into their songs every now and then, which is always a plus. Tracks to definitely check out on this record include: “I Shot All The Birds,” “Corpse On A Roof,” and “Celebrate Your Worth.”
Joyce Manor - Cody - (Epitaph Records)
Joyce Manor is a rock band from Torrence, California. Their newest release Cody is a delicious medley of punk rock, indy, pop punk and emo. Their fast past poppy emotional brand of punk with catchy hooks is sure to please. This band is pretty well known in the pop punk scene especially here in Southern California where the band is from but if you haven't heard of them you should check them out. Similar bands include The Front Bottoms, Jeff Rosenstock, Title Fight, Pity Sex and Tigers Jaw. Noticeable influences from post punk bands like The Smiths and alternative bands like Weezer are present in Joyce Manors sound. Fans of punk, indie, pop punk, emo, alternative or anything else in that realm of music should check this band out their catchy melodies will have you hooked. Songs to check out include, "Angel In The Snow," "Eighteen," and "Fake I.D." Great album Czech it out.
Berwanger - Exorcism Rock - (Doghouse Records)
Berwanger is a hard hitting indie artist from Kansas. Their latest release Exorcism Rock, is a trippy mix of experimental, hard and soft songs all combined to create a solid album. Lyrics range from loud powerful vocals to soft mellow swooning, which is as diverse as the music which ranges from an almost electronic funky opener to hard fast paste punk rock to soft acoustic melodies. Bands similar to Berwanger include The Get Up Kids, The Belated, Moaning Lisa and Podstar. I feel a lot of different vibes from this album it'll be good for anyone who likes indie, alternative, chill melodic stuff. Tracks to check out "Exorcism Rock," "Booty Shake," and "Rats & Cats." A very good album that is both fast and mellow at the same time check it out.
TAD - God's Balls - (Sub Pop Records)
"Monolithic grunge rock outfit led by larger-than-life singer Tad Doyle, a fixture of the Seattle scene in the '90s." Their grungy sound with vocals not unlike Alice in Chains their latest three deluxe releases of their 90s albums God's Balls, Salt Lick and 8-Way Santa. Similar bands include Mudhoney, Alice in Chains, the Melvins and Soundgarden. Fans of grunge will like this band. Heavy deep vocals, heavy power chord guitar noise, and powerful drums. Tracks to check out from God's Balls include "Pork Chop," "Hollow Man," and "Daisy." This is a great record check it out.
TAD - Salt Lick - (Sub Pop Records)
Songs to check out from Salt Lick include "High on the Hog," "Glue Machine," and "Habit Necessity." Another great album from TAD
TAD - 8-Way Santa - (Sub Pop Records)
Songs to check out from 8-Way Santa include "Jinx," Giant Killer," and "3-D Witch Hunt." the third in the recently re-released deluxe albums from TAD, Check all three out for hours of enjoyable music.
Lovecommission - On The West Side - EP - (Self Released)
Lovecommission is an alternative indie band from New York City. Their latest EP On The West Side is a chill alternative album made up of simple guitar and drums not unlike some stripped down Velvet Underground esq influence while the lyrics are very modern Indie with similar sounds to Underground Youth, Vio-Mire, Tweedy and an even more laid back J Mascis. Very mellow sounds to listen to while relaxing some influence undertones on some of the vocals seem a little Plastic Ono Band vibes. Check out all the there are only 4 but my favorite is "Bad Love (Always)." Cool ep give it a listen.
Angwish - United States Of Angwish - (Extensive Entertainment Records)
"Nirvana, REM, The Pixies and Local H had a foursome which produced an illegitimate child and no one is sure who the Father is. The child's name is Angwish! Angwish is very excited to announce we recorded our new album with Steve Albini who has engineered some of our all time favorite albums like The Pixies' Surfer Rosa, Nirvana's In Utero and The Breeders' Pod." That is Anguish's self introduction their website. The Charlotte, North Carolina alternative rock duo is guitar heavy with fun head bobbing vocals. Their latest release is titled United States of Angwish is an awesome ode to punk and alternative alike with a vibrant mix of heavy vocal sounds and music that is stripped down to its core elements. Some of there vocals have a Dead Milkmen feel but with a little more seriousness. Songs to check out include "Back Again," "When You Gunna Learn," and "It's Not Easy Being Famous." A cool album check it out if you are a fan of 90s punky alternative.