Best New Music

OFF! - Live from the BBC [10-inch] (Cover)
OFF!: Live from the BBC [10-inch]
Vice Records
Without question, the initial spark of excitement surrounding OFF! had to do with their “hook,” if you will: Four punk rock veterans getting together and blasting out first/second wave West Coast inspired punk rock, many songs of which are about how the frontman hated a certain former bandmate. That’s a great way to get people interested, but it all would have amounted bupkis if the band didn’t destroy live. In fact, the band likely faced a higher barrier to acclaim because of their pedigree and because they were older dudes. Punk is, after all, often considered a young man's game. (I disagree with that, mind you). [more]
The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (Cover)
The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
2015 is a big year for indie rock, with the returns of Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie, as well as strong showings from The Mountain Goats and Arcade Fire’s Will Butler. Surprisingly however, they’ve all been completely outclassed and outshined by the Decemberists, who have just crafted one of, if not their best album ever a full decade and a half into their career with What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. The album opens with the aptly titled, fourth-wall breaking “The Singer Addresses His Audience.” It’s a fun, tongue in cheek way to begin an album that hides some surprisingly dark lyrics behind its cheery facade. [more]
All Get Out - Movement [EP] (Cover)
All Get Out: Movement [EP]
Bad Timing Records
Nathan Hussey's one of my favorite frontmen in modern rock. His delivery, earnest lyrics and vulnerability as a storyteller/singer all remind me of Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra. The way his words comply with life's tragedies was what made The Season in 2011 and All Get Out's 2008 self-titled resonate. If All Get Out's music focused on a single overarching theme, it's the process of growing up: fumbling for connection, finding oneself, feeling out the ways human beings do and don't settle into their own skin. [more]
Burning Love - Down So Long [7-inch] (Cover)
Burning Love: Down So Long [7-inch]
Burning Love have a dynamic trait that draws you in and lets you vent. They're always playing with the right amount of hardcore fireworks and in doing so, they end up unsurprisingly producing albums which evolve and progress by the release. Each the more explosive than the last. This 7-inch is no different and offers yet another premiere look into what Burning Love do best. From this perspective, it's another blinder of an album, albeit one that's too short. Too shor,t but indeed, too sweet. And one which fits perfectly into their discography. Take for example, the opening track, "Down So Long", which is a great punk/hardcore mash-up. [more]
The Rentiers - Here is a List of Things That Exist [EP] (Cover)
The Rentiers: Here is a List of Things That Exist [EP]
Death to False Hope / Square o
Scientifically speaking, Joel Tannenbaum is a starfish. No wait, a hydra. That’s more evocative. Point is, you cut down one of Tannenbaum’s bands, and two more sprout up in its place. So while I continue to mourn the passing of Ex Friends in my own cripplingly personal way, I also rejoice at the emergence of Tannenbaum’s latest projects, Ghosts in the Graveyard and the Rentiers. Ghosts in the Graveyard can be glimpsed at in all their ectoplasmic ecstasy on the forthcoming Punknews mixtape (. [more]
Liturgy - The Ark Work (Cover)
Liturgy: The Ark Work
Thrill Jockey
If you follow the world of black metal at all, you probably have an opinion on Liturgy. Before Deafheaven (although not that much before Deafheaven) Liturgy were the band that the internet black metal community loved to argue about. The group’s strange and intense blend of Transilvanian Hunger-style black metal with Lightning Bolt-style noise rock would have ruffled a few feathers even if frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix weren’t writing pretentious manifestos on “Transcendental Black Metal” and hanging out with members of Vampire Weekend. [more]
The Weaks - Bad Year (Cover)
The Weaks: Bad Year
Lame-O Records
The Weaks have quickly shaken off the dull moments from their debut EP in 2014's The World Is A Terrible Place And I Hate Myself And Want To Die. This time around they seem much more focused but still very creatively free to roam as seen with their tongue-in-cheek banter as well as that Nirvana fascination. Philly continues to shine brightly in the realm of DIY indie and pop-punk and The Weaks are a great example of why their scene's something we should be placing a lot of emphasis on. Bad Year is a highly versatile album filled with snazzy singalongs that crank things up a notch but more so, it's a record that invites you and makes you feel part of their home. [more]
Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi (Cover)
Death Cab For Cutie: Kintsugi
Death Cab For Cutie's Transatlanticism stands out in the body of their past as the main novel amid a plethora of coming-of-age stories. It felt like a culmination of a series of plots addressing growing up and trying to find oneself. But what happens when this happens and then, everything's inexplicably shattered? During the production of this 45 minute 11-tracker, lead guitarist and founding member Chris Walla announced his departure after 17 years (although contributing to the recording and creative process until the record was finished). [more]
Teenage Bottlerocket - Tales From Wyoming (Cover)
Teenage Bottlerocket: Tales From Wyoming
Wyoming. The least populous state in the US doesn’t exactly conjure images of very much except snow, mountains, and vast expanses of wilderness. For just over a decade, however, Teenage Bottlerocket has worked hard to change that, putting out five full-lengths over that period and touring around the world with a range of disparate bands, from NOFX to Iced Earth. Bottlerocket’s take on pop-punk has become instantly recognizable, and fans that have followed the band over this time have been rarely disappointed with their recorded output. Tales From Wyoming, their sixth full-length release (and first for Rise Records) is no different. [more]
Zu - Cortar Todo (Cover)
Zu: Cortar Todo
Zu is an Italian extreme instrumental act that has cultivated a cult following over the past 15 years and it’s not without reason. It’s not without reason that they’ve gained a consistent following because while they root their music in metal, influenced by the low, heavy rumble of modern thrashers like High on Fire and Tryptikon as well as the dark, weird ambience of Neurosis. It’s also not without reason that they’ve remained cultish because: a) this music is not so easily labeled as “metal” or even “Avant-garde” and B)it’s far out stuff. Despite the band’s spastic, bombastic, thrash-tic nature, Cortar Todo seems aimed at the big leagues. [more]
Young Guv - Ripe 4 Luv (Cover)
Young Guv: Ripe 4 Luv
When John G. pitched Young Guv to the Punknews reviewers Facebook group, I was instantly intrigued. One of the guitarists of Fucked Up was moonlighting as an 80s pop songwriter? “I’ll take it!,” I commented on his post. Ben Cook is the third guitarist of Fucked Up, being that he was the third to join the group, right before they launched into internet indie-stardom in 2008 with The Chemistry of Common Life. However, I’m sure people from Toronto knew him long before he joined F’d Up and blew the F up. [more]
Thursday - Waiting (Expanded Edition) (Cover)
Thursday: Waiting (Expanded Edition)
Collect Records
Everyone has that band in their life that they'll drop everything for. They actually have a couple. But there's one that stands out no matter how many groups of five or 10 you list. For me, it's Thursday. Geoff Rickly's been a major inspiration as someone whose words have a Stephen King-like effect on me. It made me think more, connect more and try to get in tune with the world. His lyrics offered a vivid imagery that kickstarted cogs in my imagination I didn't even know existed. In turn, this catalyzed my attempts to write - poetry, magazines, novels and pretty much, anything considered art. However, Waiting wasn't the first album I encountered from them. [more]
Mean Jeans - Singles (Cover)
Mean Jeans: Singles
Dirtnap Records
It's been just about three years since Mean Jeans released their second full-length, On Mars. Since then, they've released a few splits with bands like Underground Railroad to Candyland and Big Eyes, and in the process, have shown off a glossier sound as compared the rawness of their early works. Singles jumps in the Delorean and travels back to the band's inception, kicking off a chronological journey through tracks released on 7-inches, compilations and in other, not-so-easily-available forms, leading up to their most recent output. [more]
Venom - From the Very Depths (Cover)
Venom: From the Very Depths
Venom are one of the most important bands in the history of heavy music. They had a hand in the creation of thrash metal, death metal and black metal (even giving the latter genre its name with their legendary sophomore album.) Without Venom, extreme metal could very well have never existed. With all of that out of the way, they’re pretty much a legacy act this point, with only 1/3 of the original group still on board. That what’s makes From the Very Depths, their first record in nearly half a decade, such a welcome surprise; This thing ROCKS. In a very familiar, but relevant and exciting way. [more]
A Place to Bury Strangers - Transfixiation (Cover)
A Place to Bury Strangers: Transfixiation
Dead Oceans
A Place to Bury Strangers, the Brooklyn noise-rock trio, have shot to the top of my list of bands to see live. Just check out this picture of frontman and guitarist Oliver Ackermann swinging his guitar by its strings. I thought I had seen it all as far as destructive rock star moves, but I’ve never seen that. Dude is a techie and handy enough to fix up his own guitars when he inevitably fucks them up at their gigs. Bassist Dion Lunadon has stated that he is sometimes scared onstage when it’s all dark and foggy and his bandmate is going nuts with complete disregard for man or machine. [more]
Daisyhead - The Smallest Light (Cover)
Daisyhead: The Smallest Light
No Sleep
Nashville, Tennessee's Daisyhead at first glance appear to be relative newcomers to the alt-rock/emo/post-hardcore scene, forming in 2012 and then putting out their 2013 EP I Couldn't Face You a bit quietly. Shame because it really showed a lot of quality. As they shaped their debut LP, they took time to drop a split with Have Mercy, which for me is what definitely made me stand up and take note of their direction. Simultaneously heavy and harmonised, Daisyhead's penchant for blindsiding you with collisions of guitars throw back a lot to bands like Balance and Composure, Superheaven (formerly Daylight) and Citizen. [more]
The Disconnects - ...Wake Up Dead (Cover)
The Disconnects: ...Wake Up Dead
Baldy Longhair
The Disconnects LP has been a long time coming. When the band released their debut …Are Healthy tape waaaay back in 2011, they kicked out six or so tunes that saluted classic t0’s New York and Detroit punk. But, following that, they intermittently released a split release here or there, but never answered the question as to whether they could rock a whole album. It’s easy (well sorta) to write one or two kickers in a row- a snappy riff here tacked to an edgy lyric there- but it takes a true craftsman to sustain that energy for a whole release. Well, you know what? Wake Up Dead proves the wait was worth it. [more]
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
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]

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