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Best New Music

Screaming Females - Rose Mountain (Cover)
Screaming Females: Rose Mountain
Don Giovanni
At least from my perspective, Screaming Females’ strength has also been their greatest hindrance. The fact is, the band is a trio of maestros: lyrics that when removed form the music can rumble with the best of the best poetry, zipping guitar lines that are precise as they are frantic, bass and drums that lock together as though Butler and Ward had snuck into the studio. But, because the band has such talent and creativity zapping from their fingers at all times, it’s almost too much for a knucklehead like myself to take in. Most people can only focus on one Dali at a time -- give us a Dali next to Rembrandt next to a Picasso and, well, it’s all just a bunch of paint. [more]
Torche - Restarter (Cover)
Torche: Restarter
Relapse
There are few bands that demand your attention like Torche do. Every single second of every single intro digs deep into you and makes sure you're taking note as to why this band's got its hooks sunk in -- which hits you as each track progresses. Restarter has tall shoes to fill as it comes on the heels of 2012's Harmonicraft and when it comes to the latter, it was always gonna be tough to top it. While the 2012 release felt like the most complete and self-distinguishing piece of work to date that substantially differentiated Torche from the past, it's a damn pleasure to state how much Restarter continues to push the NOS button and races off into the band's new era. [more]
Divers - Hello Hello (Cover)
Divers: Hello Hello
Rumbletowne Records
This is where the 40 year-old in me resides, deep within the recesses of my 29 year-old husk, or so I thought. Divers are a band that defines music being made as art. They make rock music for old souls with ample modern twists that most demographics would find inspiring. love how they toy with old-school nuances and contemporary subtleties and it's a combination of all these little juicy idiosyncrasies that makes Hello Hello a record that's every inch as powerful as it is dramatic. I should say heavily melodramatic. Harrison Rapp's vocals extend beyond the record and will echo when you're on the public commute system. [more]
Blis. - Starting Fires In My Parents House [EP] (Cover)
Blis.: Starting Fires In My Parents House [EP]
Soft Speak
It's always good to hear an indie band that doesn't wanna play it all safe, emo and twinkly. When these bands cut loose and rough it, while still sticking to the main stylistic elements of the genre, you usually get amazing stuff like The Hotelier or Have Mercy. Blis. is one of those bands and in just four tracks, you get quickly acquainted as to why they're being talked about so much on the underground circuit. They've got an edge to them that begs for more music. Dynamic, airy guitars? Check. Screamo vocals backing up a gentle lyrical overlay on the lead? Check. These constitute the bulk of what Blis. does so well. [more]
Adventures - Supersonic Home (Cover)
Adventures: Supersonic Home
Run For Cover
It's safe to say that Adventures are the Bruce Banner to the Hulk known as Code Orange. After a couple of delectable teases, they finally drop their debut LP and as hinted at by their past EPs, Supersonic Home is indeed an ode not only to '90s rock addicts, but to modern indie fans as well. From emo blueprints to alternative melodies, there's quite a bit happening sonically. However, it's no major issue and there are few complaints really, as they all meld well to all help distinguish Adventures from their contemporaries. [more]
Blacklisted - When People Grow, People Go (Cover)
Blacklisted: When People Grow, People Go
Deathwish Inc.
Blackisted get right back to basics. Embedded in nothing else but the hardcore roots that they grew their sound on, When People Grow, People Go isn't about experimentation or fucking around (which I'm sure a lot of people may have thought given Will Yip was producing). It's a clear, affirmative statement that's pretty much straight to the point -- the boys are back and you better clear the way. I've read fans posing the question -- 'Is this a return or a rebirth?' -- and I can't really blame their apprehension given the polarizing factor Yip left with PBTT and Title Fight fans. [more]
Retox - Beneath California (Cover)
Retox: Beneath California
Epitaph
It's not easy to describe Retox to someone that isn't familiar with the band's bursts of noise and fury. Formed in 2011 by members of The Locust and Festival of Dead Deer, Retox pushes forward with the former's violent power (sans pod-people uniforms), creating a wall of sound that dares the listener to take even try and take a breath. Their third full-length release, Beneath California, continues along those same lines, producing a record with an aggression reminiscent of early Southern California hardcore. With 12 songs clocking in at just over 20 minutes, the band is a study in intensity. [more]
War On Women - War On Women (Cover)
War On Women: War On Women
Bridge 9
War On Women's full-length debut emotionally covers a wide range of topics, which we should all be more than familiar with as the band's never really shied away from what their music's about. Feminism. Sexism. Politics. Abortion. And so on. It's very thought-provoking I must say and as a fan of Improvised Weapons back in 2012, I gotta admit that the heaviness of this debut is still kicking my teeth in. Doesn't matter though if you don't agree with the messages...because I'm still pretty sure you'll agree that War On Women's music is undeniably hard-hitting and fucking brutal. [more]
Iron Chic / Low Culture - Split [7-inch] (Cover)
Iron Chic / Low Culture: Split [7-inch]
Dead Broke Rekerds / Dirt Cult
This is a pretty exciting release, and sees Iron Chic and Low Culture team up for a split released as a collaboration between Dead Broke Rekerds and Dirt Cult Records. Both bands are following up their 2013 releases, Iron Chic’s The Constant One and Low Culture’s Screens; both of which received well-deserved high-scoring reviews from us. Iron Chic build on what’s expected of them: the 90’s-style punk-influenced emo with big singalongs is their style. However, this split really sees them take their sound to a new level. While Not Like This was a pretty great debut, The Constant One saw the band get even more confident in their sound. [more]
Choke Up - Black Coffee, Bad Habits (Cover)
Choke Up: Black Coffee, Bad Habits
Black Numbers
I'm already earmarking this as a contender for year-end lists. Choke Up's catalog of emotional hardcore jams takes a turn for the better and comes in the shape of cracking, chaotic blasts of punk energy. They've cleverly evolved their sound and Black Coffee, Bad Habits has something for everyone, no matter what genre you're addicted to. It feels like the gates are coming down and you're turning any bits of frustration you're experiencing in life into relief. If I told you this is great record to vent to, well, I'd be selling it short. Some friends name-dropped Desaparecidos. Some, Titus Andronicus. And others, State Faults. [more]
toyGuitar - In This Mess (Cover)
toyGuitar: In This Mess
Fat Wreck Chords
If you were looking for a record to bring the summer to you a bit early, this is it. If you're in the NYC snow and you need something to cheer up with to a bottle of whiskey...this is it. If you're craving anything -- anything at all from One Man Army, Dead To Me and Re-Volts -- then this is the perfect substitution. Jack Dalrymple does no wrong. Every Swingin' Utters fan can testify to that. And In This Mess justifies that statement. toyGuitar finally unchain their beast and if you found their EP to be anything close to awesome, then you're in for a big treat. Most of the album is packed with breezy, beach vibes. [more]
Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat (Cover)
Napalm Death: Apex Predator - Easy Meat
Century Media
It’s difficult to review a new release from Napalm Death in the same way that it’s hard to review a new release from Motorhead, Slayer or AC/DC. While they may try a few new things out here and there, you know what you’re going to get going on, and you have a pretty good idea of whether you’re going to like it or not. Apex Predator - Easy Meat, the latest release from the British grindcore pioneers, is no exception. While adding a few new flavors to keep things interesting, after three decades of melting faces, Napalm Death know what the people want and they deliver. One of the albums sonic experiments comes in the form of the album-opening title track. [more]
The Sidekicks - Runners in the Nerved World (Cover)
The Sidekicks: Runners in the Nerved World
Epitaph
Change appears to be the only constant in the world of the Sidekicks. The Ohio group have never shied away from taking risks and as such their artistic evolution has been absolute joy to follow. The uber-melodic Sam EP was a massive step up from their more traditionally punk rock debut full-length So Long Soggy Dog. Weight of Air was a significant evolution from there, simultaneously establishing them as one of the most exciting acts in punk scene as well as shedding the limitations of that scene and truly carving out their own sound. Awkward Breeds just pushed things further, demonstrating a masterful approach to melody and a stylistic flexibility unseen on their previous works. [more]
Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love (Cover)
Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love
Sub Pop
It’s been ten years since the last Sleater-Kinney release (2005’s The Woods) and nine years since their unexpected hiatus was announced. There was no public blowup nor stints in rehab, just three musicians going on their own paths after over a decade together. When their reunion was announced late last year, it was met with great enthusiasm if not slight trepidation. After all, ten years is a long time, and while the three ladies of S-K have stayed active musically (The Corin Tucker Band, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Wild Flag), the band as an entity has a certain legacy to live up to, somewhat magnified by their time away. [more]
Franz Nicolay - To Us, The Beautiful! (Cover)
Franz Nicolay: To Us, The Beautiful!
Silver Sprocket
“To us, the beautiful! And to those who disagree, may their eyes fall out,” declares Franz Nicolay in the first seconds of “To Us, The Beautiful!,” the title track of Nicolay’s fourth solo release. The line, taken from a Ukranian toast, sets the tone for a boisterous 12-song collection, the latest from the former Hold Steady and World/Inferno Friendship Society multi-instrumentalist. Recorded in six days, To Us, The Beautiful! shows Nicolay leading a guitar-driven band on what is Nicolay’s most accessible solo album to date. [more]
Atlas Losing Grip - Currents (Cover)
Atlas Losing Grip: Currents
Creator-Destructor / Revelatio
Rodrigo Alfaro was the main reason I got into Atlas Losing Grip. His vocal strength's the driving force behind the band and fits the amazing musicians this Swedish group boasts. I hope the transition is smooth for new vocalist Niklas Olsson, and from the little I've heard so far, well, it's very optimistic. But if it's one thing Currents does is re-emphasize that this closing ceremony, this curtain call for Alfaro is more than a farewell. It's their mission statement done in the most majestic manner and no doubt a huge contender for the best record they've ever done. [more]
Crazy and the Brains - Good Lord [EP] (Cover)
Crazy and the Brains: Good Lord [EP]
Baldy Longhair
The thing that makes Crazy and the Brains so compelling is that they are nigh impossible to define. Existing within the amorphous plane known as punk, the band has garage rock tendencies- what with their rowdy, jagged, messy riffs- but they’re not a “garage rock” band. The AV Club once compared the band to Rancid and while the pair share a frenetic, almost zany energy (the Brains perhaps more than Rancid) the group is far from Armstrong’s street-punk-meets-ska. Heck, there’s a xylophone in the band, but it’s applied with such force and enthusiasm, the band isn’t “Avant-garde punk.” They just rock. The previous LP, Let Me Go, established the band’s persona. [more]
The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi (Cover)
The Raveonettes: Pe'ahi
Beat Dies Records / The Orchar
Released suddenly on July 22nd of last year, Pe’ahi came as a joyous surprise for this admitted fanboy. But let’s try to be objective here, greg0rb. After digesting it for 6th months, Pe’ahi is up there with my favorite Raveonettes albums but behind 2008’s Lust Lust Lust and 2009’s In and Out of Control. [more]
Jetty Boys - Singles Collection (Cover)
Jetty Boys: Singles Collection
Urban Pirate Records
Sheboygan, WI’s finest pop punk act Jetty Boys have been feeling nostalgic. The group released their impressive full-length, named after their beloved hometown, Sheboygan on vinyl for the first time last year. Then they compiled all of their songs from previous splits into one convenient package on Urban Pirate Records. To sweeten the deal they threw four unreleased songs into the thing. [more]
Legendary Wings - Do You See (Cover)
Legendary Wings: Do You See
Dirtnap
I like Legendary Wings because they are populist. Do You See carries on the ideas that are at the core of the first wave of punk bands- that you do not need expertise to make meaningful music, that anyone with even the most basic tools can create something, that this could be, and should be, you. If there is any mystery in the album, it is in how Legendary Wings continue to find magic in straightforward chords and melodies. Writing a pop song is hard. Writing a pop song that sounds new while using tones, progressions and rhythms that are well-worn seems like it wouldn't make the process any easier. [more]

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