A bunch of quality music has been kicking my ass the past few weeks, but I just haven't had the time to compose proper one-off posts for each release, so... I'm cramming in quick mentions for everything all at once just to try and get the music out there in front of people. Definitely do some digging, there's a range of awesome jams to be found herein. Here we go, in alphabetical order...
San Diego, CA's Bent Blue just debuted with a very solid five-song demo of melodic hardcore with sort of a peculiarly "jangly" style of production/mix that lends an almost angular indie edge to the material in some ways—slightly raw and noisy in a cool way that's not uncontrolled. You could probably even say "emo," on some level, but only in that classic D.C./Dischord manner, you know? Something about the guitars could use a little more clarity or punch, but that doesn't hold things back. Both the vocals and the music are powerful and emotive, rooted in "classic" influences without sounding like a rehashed copy of hundreds of other bands. I very rarely get excited by anything that's rooted in traditional hardcore anymore, but this is quite nice. Loads of potential here.
Grab the tracks as a name your price download over at Bandcamp.
Friend of My Youth
Released last summer, Telling—the debut full-length outing from Friend of My Youth—is the "oldest" selection herein. A friend with superb taste posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago and called it simply "indiecore/emo-punk," so I gave it a spin and the absolute second the vocals kicked in I was immediately sold. 100%. So good. They've definitely got that pensive emo/indie lean happenin' with crisp cleans and gritty jangles, but there's also an energetic pop-punk zest that's filtered through what I guess would be fair to describe as somewhat of a "folksy" vibe that provides an extra dash of uniqueness. The older I get the more I suck at describing stuff, but that's also because I don't care "what" it is: it's either good or it's not, and this is great. I'll be excited to hear more in the future.
Telling is available on vinyl through Salinas Records and Secret Pennies Records, or cassette via Phat 'n' Phunky Phonics. The band sells both. Oh, yeah, there's that Spotify thing, too, or whatever...
Jars, a trio from Moscow, Russia, recently had their latest EP, Подлог, reissued on pro-duped CD-R alongside 2018's ДЖРС II album. This is some insanely badass noise rock with tracks that run anywhere from 2 to 14 minutes and the shit is heavy, swerving, craggy, and nasty. Think Eisenvater meets Unsane meets Throat, plus occasional outbursts of chaotic metalcore or murky post-punk, too. Like all great noise rock trios, the tracks are loaded with hulking basslines, hard-hitting percussion, and lots of maniacal character across a variety of vocal atmospheres. We're talkin' high-level material right here! This is damn, damn good.
I don't really know much about Mundy's Bay yet, but I got an email about 'em that mentioned "dreamy indie pop" in the subject line, and that happened to be enough to get my attention. They're from Montreal, Québec, Canada; Lonesome Valley is their debut full-length; and the opening track (included above) is a fuckin' major home run that quickly hooked me in with an excellently catchy chorus and an interesting blend of styles that teeters between kinda-sorta post-punk that's pop-centrically upbeat, but also quite somber, and occasionally just a little bit heavy-ish, too. Yet, all the while, the band is also something just a bit different than those things, I don't know... it's interesting, I really dig it. I haven't had time to listen to the whole album in proper detail yet, but I'm already curious enough to know that I'm gonna pick this up on CD—not to mention snagging some of their prior output!
Saginaw (Minneapolis, MN) just released a split cassette that includes two tracks of their twisted-up take on noise rock. The recording's a tad too thin to do them true justice, but you can absolutely pick up on the sense of weight that they're working with here. The vocals are absolutely vicious and the dissonant, winding, jagged, doom-tinged riffing even breaks off a little bit of a mathy feel at times. The "doom factor" even seems to make the songs feel longer than they are—in a good way. I'm sitting here daydreaming of what this band would sound like recorded by Steve Albini, and I think it would be mind-blowingly incredible...
In 20 years, this might be the first time I've written about a band from Hawaii!? Again, I'm generally not really into stuff that's centered around fast, traditional hardcore these days, but on What The Fuck Did We Dø Tø The Earth, Søøn (Honolulu) has a super pissed and to-the-point aesthetic that leans toward a borderline powerviolence air of aggression. What can I say? That shit works! Short, blasting tunes with rippingly scathing vocals and just the right dash of midpaced breakdowns. There are even one or two ventures into darker and more dissonant territory, which could yield some nice results if explored further.