Sioux Falls - Rot Forever (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Sioux Falls

Rot Forever (2016)

Broken World Media

It's always a great feeling when obscure bands blow you away. I remember the first Pianos Become The Teeth album I listened to. The first time I heard Troubled Coast. Posture & The Grizzly and so on. Sioux Falls's Rot Forever falls in that category. Thanks to that Broken Media publicist who kept shoving them down my throat. Definitely, no regrets after taking in this album, which while it feels a bit too long, is a remarkable attempt from three dudes to tread over several sub-genres of rock while putting their own stamp on it. They end up showing great range and at the end of the album, it's no longer a record of mimicry because after a few listens, they build a distinct identity while brushing over these familiar sounds. Indie. Pop-punk. Grunge. Alternative. And post-hardcore.

Built To Spill and Kid Brother Collective are a few examples that pop to mind in terms of their sound. Early-era Manchester Orchestra as well. "3fast" opens the album and highlights how skilled Isaac Eiger's guitarwork is. It riffs off Fred Nixon's commanding, sludgy bassline and at six minutes, it feels like two songs joined as one. Early on, it's a slow burn of angst that barrels into a huge post-hardcore finale from Eiger. His guitars in the last two minutes are phenomenal. While he and Nixon combine for vocals that sound so rough and fairly demo-ish, it's something you wouldn't want them polishing up. Not just yet. Why? Well, "Dom" is a grainy joint that throws you back to pop-punkers, Joyce Manor, in their early demos. Catchy and shout-along. The same punk formula's found in "In Case It Gets Lost".  Most of the record feels like they're exploring trying to find their sound but as they dabble in a bit of everything, it all comes off natural. They pull these varying sounds off quite well. 

Then there are rough-cuts of "Chain of Lakes" and "Past Tense" -- singalong melodies for fans of 1995-1999 alternative. There are acoustic jams, twinkly jams and loads more on tap that'll keep you thoroughly engaged and invested, no matter your taste. It's a record that's brutally candid and starkly relatable. The torturous melody of "If You Let It" helps bookend things as the second half of the album's jammed with even more slow burners. Sioux Falls are probably a hidden gem to most of you but emphasis is on 'gem'. Rot Forever is one of the most under-the-radar experiences you'll have this year and they're one of the most versatile rock acts I've come across in a while. It encouraged me to dive back into their catalog and I wasn't disappointed at all. These guys are the real deal...