I was 97.3% of the way to not posting again this week, but enough good music has been crossing my path that I decided to force myself to cobble something together so as not to fall too far behind. So, here's another batch of recommendations, in alphabetical order...
I'm sure there have been 100 bands called Bleed over the past three decades alone, but this Bleed is a new project out of Dallas, TX with lineup ties to Garden of Mary and Narrow Head. Their style is an absolutely awesome brand of post-hardcore that has slight hints of shoegaze in the vocal approach and some of the fuzzed-out/droning guitar textures. However, the overall aesthetic is far heavier and more energetic than most groups of this nature, which—once again—makes all the difference in the world. I mean, damn, there's almost a Helmet-meets-Chevelle attack to some of the rhythms, which was certainly unexpected. This general niche of "rock music" seems to be incredibly popular right now, and with Bleed coming across so strongly, they're likely to continue gaining well-deserved hype. I'm looking forward to hearing more.
Stockholm, Sweden's Exil released their debut 10-song LP, Warning, over the summer, and it's ripping hardcore/punk with zero frills. The members have played in a ton of other bands over the years—too many to list here—which might explain why they can take a style that has grown a little stale to my ears and still manage to hit the mark with ferocious efficiency. Generally fast, slightly noisy, occasionally melodic, always pissed—and with a well-balanced mix that keeps the guitars dirty while leaving plenty of room for some utterly hammering basslines. Not bad at all!
I saw Portland, OR's Floating Room mentioned on Twitter a few nights ago, and something about the post piqued my interest. The next thing I knew, I had ordered the band's entire discography through Bandcamp!? This is a really interesting mix of influences that I struggle to adequately describe. Musically there's sort of a mishmash of alternative/indie rock vibes, but the vocals tend more toward a lush pop sound—though in this particular track from their forthcoming Shima 7", also break into some wild shouting/screaming. Whatever you want to call it: very cool.
Shima is available for pre-order on three different colors of vinyl, but I really don't know how one could look past that gorgeous starburst variant (while supplies last)! You can also find more from Floating Room on Spotify and such.
Rid of Me
After a series of cassette EPs, Philly's Rid of Me—one of my favorite active bands—has announced their long-awaited debut full-length, Traveling. There's only one song from the sessions out thus far (the album does contain re-recorded versions of a few compositions from prior demos), but trust me when I say that the band is continuing to expand their sound. Things are still very much rooted in the hefty grit of noise rock, but the musical and emotional textures have grown darker and more expansive in ways that you can't just throw a bunch of different genre tags at. It's their own thing. The music isn't generic, and the inimitable vocals just take it to another level.
Out in December, Traveling is available for pre-order on vinyl, cassette, and even CD (yes!) as a co-op effort between The Ghost is Clear and Knife Hits. (If I'm not mistaken, non-vinyl formats will be shipping sooner.) Hear more from Rid of Me on Spotify, if that's your preference.
Richmond, VA trio ShotClock recently followed up last year's Side A EP with Side B, so I guess now they technically have an unofficial full-length on their hands! Once more, expect nothing but good, solid, rockin' pop-punk with plenty of catchy hooks and vocal harmonies, plus a great bass presence. There's a certain sense of "fun" on the surface, but the lyrics are actually quite serious, so they're not coming from that snarky, immature corner of the genre—a nice added bonus.
I was pissed that I was so late in discovering the existence of Webbed Wing (featuring members of Daylight/Superheaven), but at least I was in time for their sophomore full-length, What's So Fucking Funny?, slated for release in November! All the better that it's going to get a vinyl release—as is their superb 2019 debut—through the Memory Music label. It seems like the band gets bummed when people refer to them as "grungy" or "'90s-inspired," but... I mean... such terminology is kinda accurate here, and there's not a damn thing wrong with that! In their defense, however, there are absolutely more pieces to the puzzle—brooding power pop, occasional sludgy/stoner undercurrents, "Americana" twists (I hate that descriptor, I just don't know what else to call it)—and they continue to carve out an identifiable sound of their own. Highly anticipated, to say the least!