Pool Kids are a four-piece emo/indie/math rock band from Tallahassee, Florida that began in 2017. Recently they signed to Skeletal Lightning (which are easily one of the best labels kicking around now), which was my introduction to their mastercraft. Their debut album, Music To Practice Safe Sex To came out in July, and if nothing else, it's safe to say it has won album title of the year. Thankfully the music delivers on that high standard in every way imaginable. It's a refreshing take on math rock-influenced indie/emo, featuring some insanely talented musicians and incredible songwriting. They know when to let loose on the fretboard frenzies and time signatures while staying distinctly melodic, and pull back to semi-standard chords and rhythm patterns when needed, which provides a nice blend of technical mastery and unique variation in songs. Each track is incredibly memorable and with its own emotional weight to it, even amongst obvious highlights like "Borderline" and "$5 Subtweet". They combine the technical capabilities of bands like toe. and Covet and mix them with the sound and energy of bands like Camp Cope and A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, or something like that. That's not a great descriptor of them, but it's the first one I came up with and this shit is hard to pin down to one sentence. To cut this short, this record is awesome, and if I were to go out on a limb I'd say this is the best album I've heard in the "emosphere" (that's a thing now) since what people call low self-esteem.... It'll be really exciting to see where this band goes, and happy that Skeletal Lightning picked them up. If it hasn't been made obvious yet, this is highly, highly recommended. Enjoy.
Boneflower are a three-piece post-hardcore/screamo/post-rock band from Madrid, Spain that began in 2015. Thus far they've released one EP and one LP, but have quickly become one of the most notable voices in the new music-with-screams scene. Sonically, they play with a post-rock foundation, utilizing dynamic rises and falls and melodic, reverb-laden instrumentation to create a massive, full sound. They cut through that with some sharp lead guitars, pounding drums, and vocals that range from screamed to sung to spoken word, and everything in between. Their debut album, Empty Rooms, Full Bodies explores a plethora of sounds and emotions, making for a very dynamic and versatile listen. The somber acoustic tracks "Sol" and "To pieces" stand in stark contrast to ragers like "Aching absence" or "Andromeda", while still maintaining a seamless record. Boneflower is highly recommended for fans of bands such as Moving Mountains, Old Gray, Trophy Scars, Pianos Become The Teeth, and Men As Trees, (or some hybrid of all the aforementioned). Enjoy.
Macseal are a five-piece emo/indie/math rock band from Long Island, New York that began in 2014. They play a unique style of emo incorporates the "twinkly" math rock guitar sound with a heavy focus on vocal melodies and lyrics, in the same vein as bands like Oso Oso or Modern Baseball. Thrown in the harmonies of Tigers Jaw and a shade of pop punk influence, and voila, you've got Macseal. They've put out a string of EP's thus far, with the most recent one Map It Out being released today by 6131 Records. Each release thus far has been solid, with a natural evolution in sound. Definitely recommended for fans of the aforementioned bands, or anyone who enjoys the occasional visit to the emo mecca of "twinkletown". Enjoy.
Gold Coast, Australia's finest screamo band Blind Girls are back and ready to blow minds with their upcoming LP Residue, due out November 13th. It's being released by Zegema Beach Records and the band themselves, with a physical release limited to 150 black 12"'s and 65 red cassettes. You can also catch them on their upcoming Japan tour, along with Sans Visage and Komusō (both also worth checking out). Pre-order info and tour dates can be found below. For now, I'm happy to share the second track from that album, titled "3am" today.
"3am" is a minute-long flurry of cathartic vocals, feedback squeals, and furious guitars. The band manages to pack so much into its short runtime, immediately hitting the listener with dissonant, almost mathcore-esque guitar work and powerful drumming. They briefly delve into this almost melodic, somewhat melancholic passage (you'll know it when you hear it) before jumping right back into the fray of dissonance and shrieks. The brief pause of feedback is a genius tension-builder, giving them a bit of space before rocketing into a unified, heavy riff for the latter half of the song. Blind Girls are absolutely at their top of their game here, hitting a lot of technical highs with the face of chaotic distress. The vocals, instrumentation, and even the production here are enough to indicate that this new LP is going to one of the craziest released this year. Fans of bands like Lord Snow and Loma Prieta should especially take note. You can hear two more released tracks below, with the full album stream coming out a day before its full release via Heavy Blog Is Heavy.
Don Martin Three were a three-piece emo/hardcore band from St. Augustine, Florida that were active from 1993 to 1996. Their output was typically small for a band of their nature ( with only one LP, a split, and an EP), but they made some crushing music in their time. They're an incredibly underrated "emocore" (for lack of a better term) band, playing with a similar spoken-word and arpeggiated guitar mix that made legends of Moss Icon, Indian Summer and Policy Of 3. Songs would build and fall, with the lows being serenely melodic and the highs being octave chord-bashing screamfests. I cannot recommend them enough for fans of the aforementioned bands, since they deserve way more attention than they get. Plus, that split is three tracks of pure perfection so I'd suggest starting there, but it's absolutely all solid. Enjoy.
itoldyouiwouldeatyou are a 7-piece indie/punk/emo band from London, England that began in 2014. Following a string of singles and EP's, the band are finally gearing up to release their debut album, Oh Dearism this month. They've built a solid following through their charismatic sound, which blends the bright, twinkly guitars of midwestern emo with the energetic sensibilities of pop punk fused with some heavy lyrical depth. Sonically, they can be compared to bands like Say Anything, Joyce Manor, Mom Jeans., Brave Bird, Free Throw, and Midwest Pen Pals, or something along those lines. The two singles already released from their LP, "Gold Rush" and "Get Terrified" are fan-fucking-tastic, and hopefully a good indication of what a good and unique album it will be. It might be a little premature to say, but this band is probably going to blow up (as they have been rapidly for a while now). They're a new, fresh, talented and positive voice for the "scene" (take that as you will), and I'm not nothing but excited to see how far they're going to go. Enjoy.
So it's Halloween, and I figured a post to commemorate the spookiest of holidays was in order. Since the band most associated with this time of year is already on here (rhymes with Dispits), I figured the next best thing would be a band closely associated with them, but not discussed nearly as much. Plus, they take their name from one of the greatest movies ever made (Rosemary's Baby) and dressed like the ultraviolent characters in A Clockwork Orange, which definitely gives them bonus points.
Rosemary's Babies were a four-piece hardcore punk band from Lodi, New Jersey that began in 1980 and broke up in 1983. They played a brand of punk very similar to early DC bands such as Minor Threat and Bad Brains, with a hint of Circle Jerks thrown in the mix. Additionally, they were quite reminiscent of The Misfits, who the band were closely acquainted with (both were from Lodi and had a penchant for horror). Rosemary's Babies drummer was none other than Eerie Von, who was a photographer for The Misfits, and also did a lot of the overdubs on posthumous Misfits compilations along with Glenn Danzig. He was also a major member of Glenn's post-Misfits bands as a bassist, including all of Samhain and the first four (and most essential) Danzig records. To get back to Rosemary's Babies, they only released one 7" in 1983, titled Blood Lust. In 2004, a CD compilation was released including all but one track off of Blood Lust, in addition to other recorded tracks and live material. That's what I have below. So enjoy, and Happy Halloween!
Have a Nice Life are a two-piece experimental rock band from Middletown, Connecticut that began in 2000. The band consists of Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga. Since their formation, they have been sparsely active, but have garnered a cult following thanks to their incredibly unique style of music and magnum opus, 2008's Deathconsciousness. The band blends elements of post-punk, shoegaze, post-rock, industrial, drone, doom, and ambient music to create one of the darkest, depressing and most existential records of all time. In its near hour and a half run-time it explores a litany of expansive sounds, themes and emotions, making the final project a work of absolute genius. I consider it to be one of the most personally affecting works of art ever made, and (as cliché as it sounds) sitting alone listening to Deathconsciousness in a dark room is an experience (as pretentious as that sounds). By the culmination of the album in the final minutes of "Earthshaker", it's hard not to be truly moved, like standing on a mountain of solitude watching your life flash before your eyes. It's an album that stands on its own without any clear contemporaries, which is fitting considering the isolating nature of the music. The production and recording quality is another major contributor to the feel of this album, with it being recorded for less than $1000, giving it a lo-fi sound that still feels full, warm, and organic. It's truly cut from its own cloth, and there hasn't been a record before or since that can truly compare to it. Even the bands often cited as being its influencers (Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine) don't really capture the same sounds that Have a Nice Life do on this album, and those are the titans of their respective genres. To cut this short and avoid further ranting, just listen to this album.
Their debut album was the sole occupant of a desolate island until 2014, when Have a Nice Life released their follow-up album, The Unnatural World. It follows a similar aesthetic to their debut, but with a significantly shorter run-time. It still reaches incredible heights, and puts the listener in a mood torn between life-affirming and death-approaching. Additionally, they have also released one EP (Time Of Land) and two compilations that contains b-sides and demos from throughout their career that were not included on their two studio albums. The two musicians comprising Have a Nice Life are also active in many other projects, most notably (and also recommended) Dan Barrett's Giles Corey, who released an incredible LP in between the two Have a Nice Life albums. Enjoy.
Clikatat Ikatowi were a four-piece post-hardcore/emo band from San Diego, California that formed in 1994 and broke up in 1997. They were one of many incredible bands to come out of San Diego around this time, many of which were Clikatat Ikatowi's labelmates on Gravity Records. Notable other bands included Heroin, Antioch Arrow, and Angel Hair. I've already gotten around to those bands, so this band is long overdue for a post on here. If any of the aforementioned bands/label are familiar to you, then you've got a decent idea of the sound Clikatat Ikatowi was working with. There's also a strong sense of Fugazi influence, particularly in the dynamics and rhythms, along with the pairing of high octane energy mixed with solid instrumental chops.
They pushed the boundaries of traditional hardcore to include odd time signatures, spastic drumming, serrated and angular guitar work (with an emphasis on octaves and dissonance), frantic bass lines, and desperate shouts in the form of vocals. This is jazzy, screamy hardcore at its finest. Another thing they are noted for is their drummer, Mario Rubalcaba, who was also a member of 411, Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt, The Black Heart Procession and Off!. Clikatat Ikatowi are criminally underrated but undeniably influential, with their LP Orchestrated And Conducted By being an absolute essential. Enjoy.
Trail Of Lies are a five-piece straight edge hardcore band from Syracuse, New York that began in 2011. They've made a name for themselves in hardcore thanks to some unrelentingly heavy, aggressive riffs that still have a groove to them, deep, guttural vocals, and a penchant for mosh-friendly breakdowns. There's definitely a lot of Hatebreed influence here, which is a selling point in and of itself. Both of their recent records, Strength Through Discipline and W.A.R. are worth checking out. I'm also missing most of the Demo (since I could only find the first two tracks). If anyone happens to have the rest, please send them my way! Enjoy.