We are half done with 2016! No, I don’t make list part of the way through, but I do still compile the coolest under-the-radar essentials along the way! Here we go again, the best month to show for so far…
Avion Roe – In Separation
Hey, this album looks and sounds like something Anberlin would release, but it’s not, and ever since Anberlin finally called it quits, it seems like there’s been a youth group-sized hole in my alternative rock listening habits. That stops with In Separation, complete with Taking Back Sunday whiny vocals and comfortable guitar leads.
clipping. – Wriggle
Sub Pop Records
Daveed Diggs has become a Broadway superstar of sorts in recent history. From clipping’s last effort CLPPNG, to starring in the musical “Hamilton”, it seems Diggs and crew are on top of the world right now. Fame has certainly worked a number on him, yet he still manages to churn out another extended play of fresh industrial-based tracks, showcasing just like before how great of an emcee he is. Whatever Diggs’ name is associated with in the history books, just take clear notice that clipping’s work is just as immortal as any founding fathers.
Drowners – On Desire
On Desire carries itself as a product of the alternative explosion circa ten years ago. I was in middle school then, and bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, The Hives, Franz Ferdinand were all the rage. Fast forward to now, and we still have countless ripoff bands surging up the Top 40 Alternative charts, shamelessly throwing their own bland spin on what was pretty typical indie rock to begin with. Maybe the band is British, maybe they’re not; it all just sort of blends in doesn’t it? Drowners is no exception, just without the popularity factor, and with a little more post-punk revival in their sound. It’s catchy, but not overbearing. What more could you want?
FEWS – MEANS
FEWS on the exciting and concise MEANS hit a nerve for any post-punk appetite, and even though this was released in May, I’m tossing in a YMHM wild card of sorts just to shed light on a wonderful little record. Invoking the spirit of Editors-ish post-punk grooves with dreamier vocals, MEANS is a short burst of guitar magic in ten separate entries. The London-based Swedes are here, and they’re just getting started.
Hannah Georgas – For Evelyn
Beetie Bomb Music Inc.
Pop music with attitude and jazzy instrumentation as a nice cherry on top. That is how I would describe For Evelyn, and smooth, easy listening experience courtesy of Canadian songstress Hannah Georgas. The textures of each song thrive with top notch production. Lorde fans, this is your temporary follow up to Pure Heroin! Yeah yeah yeah!
Hotel Books – Run Wild, Stay Alive
People like Cam Smith and the emotive harsh narratives they portray are wrecks at the core, Run Wild, Stay Alive being no exception. When it comes to post-hardcore records driven by spoken word excerpts and angsty screams, albums that pull off a worthy mixture of both are a dime a dozen, yet Hotel Books manages a strikingly peculiar, yet beautiful concoction. Run Wild, Stay Alive merits repeated listens, but should not be handled lightly, as it’s anything but a casual listen.
Margaret Glaspy – Emotions And Math
ATO Records, LLC.
“You don’t know my situation…you don’t have a clue, so don’t tell me what to do”. Tongue-in-cheek songwriting and indie rock tones dominate Margaret Glaspy’s newest full-length, Emotions And Math. As the title suggests, look for excerpts of heartfelt emotion, but also the sensible patterns of day-to-day struggle.
Mourn – Ha, Ha, He.
Likened to PJ Harvey’s raw vocal performances captured on earlier works such as Dry and Rid of Me, Carla Perez and Jazz Rodriguez flourish together as singers and guitarists on Mourn’s follow up to their self-titled debut. As concise as the compositions tend to be, a beauty in short and sweet indie rock numbers is perfectly topped by the duo’s harmonious croons. Think of a faster-paced Warpaint, with similar post-punk undertones, ominously serene.
NAILS – You Will Never Be One Of Us
Nuclear Blast Entertainment
As the legendary MF DOOM once said, “Just remember all caps when you spell the man’s name”. Perhaps the saying is equally translatable when applied to the heaviest, sludgiest onslaught that is NAILS. Yes, each entry into their discography is one more bombardment of brutal riffs, screams, and grind. If you need the heaviest fix there is, consider You Will Never Be One Of Us.
NO/NO – Sound and Light
Right from the beginning, Sound and Light is evident that synths and drum machines play a heavy role in their take on eighties-influenced pop songs. In fact, nostalgia weighs heavy on NO/NO’s music, with layers of wavy guitars applying a cushion on fuzz for the ears. Cat Ries vocal stylings, paired with pensive contributions from Harrison Colby make for any John Hughes nerd’s glimpse into a 2016 blast from the past.
September Girls – Age of Indignation
As melodic as they are brooding, Dublin-based rockers September Girls burst forth in a different season entirely than their name suggests with Age of Indignation. Summer jams reign plenty, as the quintet churn out dark, yet melodic post-punk magic one after another.
Be sure to check out these other June reviews…