Spiritual Cramp are a six-piece post-punk band from San Francisco, California that began in 2017. They have put out two EP's so far, one with React! Records, and the other with Deranged Records. They also share members with Creative Adult. Sonically, Spiritual Cramp stay loyal to the classic punk formula of high energy and raw power. They fuse the downstroke backbeat dub of The Clash with the melodic progressiveness of the Modern Lovers, and drench it in a gothic, Bauhaus-esque tinge, featuring bright guitars and wild vocals. Additionally, the Christian Death influence has to be acknowledged, since the band name is derived from one of their songs. Both Spiritual Cramp EP's are undeniably incredible post-punk with a razor edge, and highly recommended for fans of forward-thinking punk. Enjoy.
René Descartes were a four-piece screamo band from San Franscisco, California that were briefly around from 2015-2016. They featured former members of Flowers Taped To Pens and current members of SeeYouSpaceCowboy, which should be an immediate indication of how good this band is. They draw influence from the chaos of bands like Kodan Armada and Saetia, which their own unique attitude thrown into the mix. Both their demo and posthumously released S/T are fantastic documents of solid screamo, definitely recommended for fans of any of the aforementioned bands. Enjoy.
Palmkite are a four-piece emo/indie band from Northport, New York that formed in 2009. They're quite an underrated bands to come out of the original "emo revival", and share a lot of sonic similarities with other early bands, such as Joie de Vivre or Hightide Hotel. Palmkite play with clean, noodly guitars and forlorn, Braid-esque vocals, with some awesome lyrics behind them. Thus far the band's releases are 3/3, with even their demo being a standout release. Unfortunately, they haven't put anything out since late 2014, and are currently on an unofficial hiatus. Hopefully we'll get some new material from them sometime in the future, but for now, we have these incredible throwbacks. Enjoy.
Darkle are a four-piece emo/math rock/screamo band from New Lenox, Illinois that formed in 2015. They play a modern style of emo akin to bands like Prince Daddy & The Hyena and Mom Jeans., but with more experimental elements, and a slightly darker sound than bands like that (as their name might suggest). They play with that mathy/screamy/twinkly blend that hints at some Merchant Ships influence as well, with catchy vocals and despairing lyrics. Their most recent EP, Pain Train, is a loose concept outlining the five stages of grief, with each track offering up a unique tone and eclectic instrumentation which makes for a rollercoaster listen. Definitely good stuff here, highly recommended. Enjoy.
Alright, you can cool it with the requests. Finally, here is Slaughter Beach, Dog, the project spearheaded by Modern Baseball singer/guitarist Jake Ewald that began in 2015. To date, he's released two EP's and two full-lengths, all of which have been a fantastic substitute to fill the void left by MoBo's hiatus (even though projects were active at the same time). Ewald's solo material definitely features some of his charismatic writing, with a focus on personal anecdotes involving characters and places. Sonically, he takes influence from the principal singer-songwriters of bands like Pedro The Lion and The Weakerthans. Not much else to say really, he's already established himself as a fantastic songwriter, and this project gives him a more subdued sound to allow his melody and lyrics to flow through. Enjoy.
Alright, I've got another premiere for ya, and this one I'm especially pumped about. I'm happy to share the new split between Milwaukee's Snag and New Zealand's Swallows Nest. I'm lucky to have an exclusive stream of this incredible split here for you to check out. This release is as collaborative as they come, with Sam from Snag putting together the amazing artwork, and Dave of Swallows Nest putting out the tapes through the as-you-already-know fantastic label Zegema Beach Records. Those tapes will be available worldwide through the label, as well as through the bands in their respective countries.
This one I'm especially excited about because not only do we get three new tracks of screamy goodness and my useless ramblings, but also interviews with a member of each band to get the background on how these songs and recordings came to be. Check all of that out, in addition to the artwork, the full stream and more beeeeelow.
Snag come firing out of the woodwork on this split with some of the heaviest, most neck-snapping riffs I have ever heard. Within the first minute, they've entered a bone-chilling build-up, based around the unsettling mantra "and we eat our young", which culminates in a swelling chaos of apocalyptic proportions. The bass hits as heavy as a steamroller, with dissonant guitars noisily chipping away at the foundation. This track offers an intense sonic journey, which recalls one of the all-time greats, City Of Caterpillar. This is the soundtrack to a world ending not with a bang or a whimper, but a full-fledged forest fire with no end in sight. I'm not sure what else needs to be said about this song, it absolutely floored me when I heard it, and am fully anticipating the same reaction from most of you. This is what I love so much about modern screamo, how "progressively familiar" it can be. It's a distinct genre that creative bands are still finding ways to set the bar in.
Swallows Nest are a band you might be familiar with from the split they did with Crowning earlier this year. "Dark Hamz" opens with an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sample, which is just about the greatest way to start a song. The band wastes no time after that going full-throttle into blast beats and tremolo-picked guitars. They utilize two vocalists, which furiously weave in and out and on top of each other in a natural "harmony" (if such a word can be applied). Another thing I found of note here was the bass, which often times provides a subtle melodic backbone to the song. It's those little details that really change the feeling of a song, and that's expressed excellently here.
Their second song, "Apathy As An Infinite Manifestation" begins by burning slowly with a trebly, arpeggiated guitar before firing on all cylinders. The moments of full-band syncopation hit home, and the vocals really play well off each other. One is guttural and menacing, while the high and shrieked. When they alternate, it sounds like an inner conflict one might have, with two voices arguing at one volume: screaming. It's an incredible culmination to this split, one that truly blew me away. You can check out the video for that track below.
INTERVIEW Peter (Snag): David from Swallow's Nest asked if we wanted to do a split and without hesitation we agreed. We discussed general ideas for what we wanted this to be, and Dave suggested the theme of violence, so we fixated on that a little bit. The Parkland, Florida school shooting happened right around the time we wrote this song, and so the concept seemed extremely fitting for what was on everyone's minds at the time. That having been said, the concept that violence is intersectional is one that weaves through a lot of our music. When we started this band our first songs focused on themes relating to climate change and environmental devastation. That's certainly still the case but we feel that a similar mindset informs all forms of oppressive violence. The same internal logic that allows a human to open fire on their peers in a school is the one that allows someone to abuse their partner, allows the state to round up and/or murder minorities, allows an economic order to extract resources at the expensive of life on the planet.
We used a sample from True Detective that connects these concepts to the idea of a self. And we borrow some lyrical content from the ideas Ursula LeGuin put in her novel The Dispossessed, which is about an actualized anarchist society on a resource-poor moon. In the context of extreme violence in the form of domination of one over others or systems over individuals at multiple levels, this song's message is about turning away from destructive notions of a hyper-individual self and turning instead towards mutualism.
We put together this song over the course of 2 days, and then recorded it with our friend Dante Fumo at his studio on the south side of Milwaukee in an afternoon. It's our favorite song that we've written and we've been itching to release it. We're absolutely thrilled to have worked with Dave and Swallow's Nest on this project.
Kevin (Sophie's Floorboard): What was the inspiration behind choosing violence as theme for this split, and how does that theme factor into your side of the split?
Dave (Swallows Nest): I'm not really sure what the catalyst was for that. I have noticed in the last 15 years that my lyrics have gone from being about heartbreak to focusing on purely social/political/environmental issues. It's not a concentrated effort, it just happens. I'm so fucking angry at most of the people on this planet for their greed, hate, intolerance, pollution, selfishness, arrogance and violence that lyrics don't usually come out of me in any other way nowadays. I told Snag that I wanted to do a very environmentally conscious release that was violent and about human violence.
Our side of the split is a little less based on violence and more toward apathy and selfishness. particularly on the second track "Apathy as an Infinite Manifestation". I wrote the lyrics for this as a retort to complete pacifism in the wake of corporate and government led terrorism abroad and within. It's also about being so self-centered that we are purposefully looking away from our collective species' suicide or, somehow, finding ridiculous justifications for it. The first of the two songs is called "Dark Hamz" and was just a joke title that I had as it sounded like Dark Hardcore Skramz to me, and then I just shortened it. Before that I referred to it as the Buried Inside intro song, thanks to Jörg's undeniably awesome bass riff. The song mirrors my relationship with my wife in New Zealand (she was suffering from intense morning sickness and the weather got her extremely depressed and negative) with humanity's connection with nature, urging both to reconcile their differences and live in harmony.
Kevin (Sophie's Floorboard): What was the background (writing/recording) for your material on this split?
Dave (Swallows Nest): We wrote 7 songs as a four-piece with myself on vocals, Matt on guitar, Jörg on bass and Gabe on drums, but upon the news of my departure back to Canada we decided to enlist Jörg's partner Lana (both played in Yung Nat$ together) and, as I'm a sucker for dual vocalists, we decided to record those songs as a five-piece. The band is back to a four-piece with Lana on vocals but Matt moved to the North island of New Zealand and the band is kind of a semi-internet based thing, although they/we are working on new material for next year.
These two songs on this Snag cassette follow "A Subtle Knife For New Doors" on the Crowning split 7" and then we've got four more that'll end up on a self-titled cassette that we'll release before 2018 concludes.
Kevin (Sophie's Floorboard): I've got to ask because of my deep-seated obsession with this film. Why/how did the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sample on "Dark Hamz" come about?
Dave (Swallows Nest): I'm a big fan of putting movie audio clips into songs, mostly because I've been in love with Graf Orlock for over a decade and think choosing the right one can really give the song something extra. Plus I get to geek out with people when they get the quote or ask to know where it came from.
This one came into being because my wife and I were having issues, primarily due to her morning sickness from her second pregnancy. I was also trying to correlate our relationship (embellishing the problems bigger than they were) with our struggle within society, and to fight in both cases for love, truth, compassion and happiness..."or we'll wash away." (not unlike the sandcastles getting toppled in the music video for "Apathy as an Infinite Manifestation")
Also, I knew I wanted a quote from that movie to go into the song and when I got to that part where Jim Carrey's character begins erasing his memory of his partner in response to her erasing her memory of him, truly an eye for an eye situation which we as humans dish out all too often.
This one has been a long-time coming, and a huge weight off my chest to finally get posted here. I mean this in the best and happiest of terms, because this band has been so highly requested and put out so much incredible material. It just took my lazy ass a few years to get around to doing it, haha. I'm talking of course about Gillian Carter, a three-piece screamo band from Palm Bay, Florida that formed in 2005. They play an emotionally intensive style of screamo that blends an array of other sounds, including post-rock, melodic hardcore, emo, post-hardcore, and and even acoustic elements in the mix.
They're a band that really does strive to craft its own path, with every track offering up something new. This makes for their two most recent full-lengths, Lost Ships Sinking With The Sunset and Dreams Of Suffocation being absolute landmark albums. For a loose band comparison, just to get an idea of sound, think Envy, State Faults, and early Pianos Become The Teeth. They've been fairly prolific over the years (well, relatively for a genre where more than one full-length could be considered "prolific"), with a handful of releases over the years. Essentials would be the two aforementioned albums, as well as their recent splits with Eyelet and Coma Regalia. Even then, they've been quite consistent for a band that has been kicking around as long as they have. Super happy to finally share this incredible band with ya, enjoy.
Reveries are a four-piece screamo/post-hardcore band from Boston, Massachusetts that formed in 2016. They play an instrumentally intricate but melodic style of screamo that hits hard without delving into absolute chaos. The vocals keep the lyrics semi-descernible (which is a good thing, they're solid lyrics), and are delivered in a screamed-spoken hybrid. Sonically, Reveries could be loosely compared to bands like Kidcrash, Shizune, Innards, and Age Sixteen, or something like that. They just released their debut self-titled album, which is out on cassette via Emo Cat Records and vinyl via Ancient Injury. Highly recommended. Enjoy.
Outburst are a five-piece straight edge hardcore band from New York City that were originally around from 1987 to 1989, but have been playing shows again since 2017. They put out a demo (recorded by Don Fury), a few comp tracks, and one 7" during their initial run together. Since then, Outburst have been incredibly influential (notably on bands like Fury and Soul Search, among others). Their sound is distinctly NYHC, but they don't quite sound like Agnostic Front, or something like that. They've got a uniquely aggressive sound, with blunt lyrics and booming instrumentals. In addition to what's below, you can also grab some live sets from there over at Blogged & Quartered here. Enjoy.
Commander Salamander are a three-piece band from Washington, DC that (presumably) formed in 2017. I don't even know where to start with this band. They're kinda punk, kinda screamo, kinda emo, kind of all of the above and kind of none of the above. Either way, they're a good time with an awesome sound & energy. They dropped a solid EP last year, which poses the age old question "what the fuck rhymes with Fugazi?" and have their debut full-length due out this month. Based on the two promo tracks they've dropped, it's safe to say it'll knock some socks off. Enjoy.