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Pianos Become The Teeth - Keep You (Cover)
Pianos Become The Teeth: Keep You
Epitaph Records
Kyle Durfey's always written gut-wrenching and emotionally turbulent songs to cope with his father's death. He's given me some of my most connective tunes to date. In essence, Pianos Become The Teeth have been therapy sessions not only for their lead but for fans like me as well. 2011's The Lack Long After was the record that got me through severe depression over the last few years and it still holds up as one of the best post-hardcore/screamo records I've ever heard -- which had me tentative about the shift in direction that Keep You takes. [more]
Guerrilla Monsoon - Big City Plans [10-inch] (Cover)
Guerrilla Monsoon: Big City Plans [10-inch]
Paper + Plastick
A good punk rock band from Birmingham? Yep. Thank God, it's about time something changed. Guerrilla Monsoon, who formed in December of last year, signed to Paper + Plastick earlier this year which was followed by the release of a split with Gameday Regulars. Now, Big City Plans is the band's latest offering. A 10-inch, eight-track EP -- four songs new and four songs old. Let's start with the new. The record kicks off with "Flock the Nest," showcasing instantly the band's recognisable brand of emo-based melodic punk rock. Melodic guitars, a combination of emo/gruff vocals and an impressive rhythm section. [more]
Lagwagon - Hang (Cover)
Lagwagon: Hang
Fat Wreck Chords
If you talk to anyone in the late 20s to late 30s demographic that is a fan of the offshoot genres of punk music, most will probably have a favorite band from the golden years of Fat Wreck Chords. NOFX would probably be the most common answer, followed by Strung Out who have always maintained a ravenous fan base. No Use For A Name certainly deserves mention as well. For me, and I’m certain thousands others, it was Lagwagon. I won’t drone on about the band’s history; they’ve been around a long time and have made some very memorable records. [more]
Restorations - LP3 (Cover)
Restorations: LP3
Side One Dummy
Restorations pretty much established themselves with LP2 in a bigger and more expansive way. This was the album that announced them in the way most bands want to be viewed or defined. As someone who took a while to get into them, I boast this about that record because it was the one that really won me over. In spades. Few bands can pull off such an assured sound, and they did. Their music dips in and out, varying from conventional to intricate to wandering to intense. A deep range, indeed. But what makes Restorations click is that when they traverse these forks in the road, they do so with an extra edge and a bit more conviction. [more]
Literature - Chorus (Cover)
Literature: Chorus
Slumberland Records
Everything about Literature is bigger on LP #2: Bigger label, bigger hooks, bigger production. They named the album Chorus for a reason. While the band’s songs still feel like a power-pop time warp at times, it’s hard to deny such peppy, poppy tracks. Plus, at least they have good taste. Arab Spring stole some tricks from the Buzzcocks (sometimes too brazenly), but with Chorus, Literature is more suggestive than literal with their influences. The Jam and the Bongos come to mind, all nervous energy and cascading chords, and maybe Vampire Weekend as well. Being a twee band, Literature is certainly in good company on SLR. [more]
Gates - Bloom & Breathe (Cover)
Gates: Bloom & Breathe
Pure Noise
New Jersey's Gates had first gained rightful notice on the strength of two free EPs. Initially came 2011's promising The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home, released on the digital download, donation-based Death to False Hope; the next year, they self-released the improved (noticeably in the vocal department) You Are All You Have Left to Fear. Both offered a hybrid of post-rock and emo in a dramatic package that wasn't unlike their neighbors to the near north, Moving Mountains, a sound that can be rather affecting when done well. [more]
Rats in the Wall - Dead End (Cover)
Rats in the Wall: Dead End
Blacknoise
Brad Logan has been relatively quiet since Leftover Crack slowed down following 2007's Deadline. Little did we know that behind the scenes, he was fiddling with new bands, including Pagan Idols, who never released any official recordings, and several proto-versions of Rats in the Wall. Dead End, the band's first proper LP, shows that all the tinkering and testing was worth it. Logan and crew harness their skills and fashion a release that both salutes the classic tropes of hardcore without falling pray to cliché. Fittingly, the album opens with Logan's classic roaring guitar. [more]
Dads - I'll Be The Tornado (Cover)
Dads: I'll Be The Tornado
6131 Records
If people weren't flocking to Dads after Pretty Good, they'll definitely be doing so now. As they continue jamming indie rock with emo and punk, what they manage to paint yet again is another heartfelt sketch on family and loss. I'll Be The Tornado is highly focused, driven and a record that never seems content. A lot of this comes down to John Bradley's words -- and he's never sounded as hungry and angsty as this, which makes the songs resonate that much more. As a guitar-centric indie-rock ten-tracker, Dads map out a path for powerful, connecting darts, take aim and leave you enjoying the pain. [more]
The Melvins - Hold It In (Cover)
The Melvins: Hold It In
Ipecac
The Melvins are in the middle of their David Bowie phase, and frankly, it’s working. Of course, the “David Bowie Phase” may be characterized by an artist rapidly recording multiple releases in a single year while collaborating with a wide range of other artists to help stoke the creative fire. The David Bowie Phase might also contain the usage of a certain substance to help charge productivity, but in the Melvins case, it is unlikely as Melvins drummer Dale Crover once famously stated, “The best advice I can give to a band? Stay away from the weasel powder.” The last album credited to “The Melvins” proper was 2010’s The Bride Screamed Murder. [more]
Liz Prince - Tomboy [Book] (Cover)
Liz Prince: Tomboy [Book]
Zest Books
If you're a fan of Liz Prince's work, then you already know that "Tomboy" is Prince's first foray into full-length graphic novel territory after years of churning out comics on the Internet and in the pages of publications like "Razorcake." Like much of Prince's output, it's a highly personal story. In this case, the story is a memoir of Prince's childhood, adolescence and teenage years, told through the prism of a girl who isn't interested in being a girl. [more]
Sick Of It All - Last Act Of Defiance (Cover)
Sick Of It All: Last Act Of Defiance
Century Media
For close to 30 years, Sick Of It All have been the definitive name in hardcore. Although they have never been a band to reinvent the wheel in a vein similar to the likes of Refused or Fucked Up, they've consistently churned out solid releases year after year. Last Act Of Defiance is unapologetically a Sick Of It All record in the truest form. [more]
Laura Jane Grace - True Trans (Episode 1) (Cover)
Laura Jane Grace: True Trans (Episode 1)
AOL Originals
True Trans is an AOL-produced show focused on Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace, who came out as transgender in 2012. The show looks at Grace's post-2012 journey along with other trans people’s stories. Episode one, “Growing Up” looks at Grace’s childhood featuring talking heads from her mom, Bonnie Grace, Against Me! guitarist James Bowman and Grace herself. Shots are interspersed of Grace playing solo guitar parts from various songs from Transgender Dysphoria Blues which is a nice touch. [more]
Circle Jerks - Wild in the Streets [Reissue] (Cover)
Circle Jerks: Wild in the Streets [Reissue]
Drastic Plastic
What you might not know is that the version of the Circle Jerks’ Wild in the Streets in your CD or record collection might not actually be the real album. You see, Wild was originally released in 1982 on Faulty Products. Then, in 1988, it was repressed on both CD and vinyl on the Frontier Records label. But, when time came to repress the album in 1988, the original mixed masters couldn’t be found. So, the label had to remix and re-edit the whole album from the base tracks and did it without the band’s approval. [more]
Moose Blood - I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time (Cover)
Moose Blood: I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time
No Sleep Records
Moose Blood definitely verge on the poppier side of the emo genre —— or what people would call "emo—revival." Or maybe what some strange people would call "weiner rock" or "fake emo." Their debut EP, Moving Home, received lots of attention and hype in the UK where they quickly became one of the most talked about bands in the scene. Now, I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time sees the band take everything they've learned from their EP, their singles and their splits, and cull all of the unnecessary stuff, and build tremendously on everything which works. [more]
Nothing - Guilty of Everything (Cover)
Nothing: Guilty of Everything
Relapse
Nothing is one of those bands that metal fans would probably be pissed at for floating around their venues if not for the dark, blustery post—metal sound they neatly craft. It's a craft that battens down the hatches and manages to swim with the loud, heavy yet never aggressive acts like Alcest and to a lesser extent, Deafheaven. They have one of the most intriguing musical narratives around. It's not that they're reinventing the wheel but as Guilty of Everything shows, they make beautiful art out of introspective melodies, gutwrenching shoegaze and explosive crescendos. The way they blend fuzz, feedback and heavy distortion is nothing short of magnetic. [more]
Single Mothers - Negative Qualities (Cover)
Single Mothers: Negative Qualities
Dine Alone Records
Single Mothers are full of negative qualities. Lyrically, it's obvious. But music—wise, it's totally the opposite. Remember "Winter Coats" from these dudes? One of the most jacked—up jams ever. That was the moment I fell in love with Single Mothers. Jeremy Bolm touted them as one of the most energetic, amped bands around and safe to say that upon exploring them, the Ontario natives were definitely living up to billing. Their 2011 EP proved why. They had a lot of pent—up rage, frustration and decadence to release and write/sing about. [more]
VANIISH - Memory Work (Cover)
VANIISH: Memory Work
Metropolis
San Francisco—based singer/guitarist Kevin Tecon's played in a host of post—punk and shoegaze bands, but the one with the most obvious correlation to his current project was Veil Veil Vanish. The outfit released one incredibly promising and just about fully realized album of shadowy, electronic—tinged new wave, then became very quiet over the next few years. Somewhere during all of this, Tecon left any band he was associated with in early 2013 . [more]
Lilac Daze - Sedated [EP] (Cover)
Lilac Daze: Sedated [EP]
Black Numbers
Hearing someone rant about this record as a sleeper of the year piqued my interest. Especially because my bud did it incessantly. Said Lilac Daze was one of the biggest hidden gems in the current punk scheme of things. So I investigated. Six tracks in and in just under 15 minutes, Sedated validates every word. It's one of those short burst that's got every sub—genre of punk smashed into one. The technical aspect's solid, lyrics unfiltered and the energy huge. [more]
Various Artists - Two Way Tie for Last [cassette] (Cover)
Various Artists: Two Way Tie for Last [cassette]
Baldy Longhair/ Fleeting Youth
The punk compilation was formed in the late 70's as way to introduce listeners to bands that they might not know about. Let them eat Jellybeans, Bullshit detector, and Hell comes to your house forged this tradition and really, help set the pantheon of punk legends by merely including bands in their grooves. This tradition continued with force well into the early 2000's with the famed Fat Music, Give em the boot, and Punk—o—rama comps. Perusing any of those tracklists is a review of who's who in the punk scene (with a few lesser deviations). [more]
RVIVR - Bicker and Breathe [EP] (Cover)
RVIVR: Bicker and Breathe [EP]
Rumbletowne Records
Over a year later and I still can't get "Paper Thin" out my head. The Beauty Between cemented itself as the RVIVR record I was waiting on —— stamping its authority as one of their most ambitious and energetic punk diatribes to date. But more so, it really felt like the most wholesome piece of work in their catalog and one especially meant to leave its mark on doubters who felt they weren't living up to their billing. [more]

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