Seahaven- “Andreas” (Acoustic Video)

Seahaven, whose latest album, Reverie Lagoon…, is one of my favorites of 2014, have just given us a more intimate, stripped down way of experiencing one of the more musically energetic, bouncy tracks on that generally moody, reflective, somber album. This acoustic version of “Andreas” lends a deeper sense of vulnerability and rawness to the song’s dark lyrical content, allowing lines such as “Come to me, come to me/I’ll be your friend/Leave sitting alone at home/ With your open wrists that bleed all over,” to resonate on an even deeper level.

Major League- “Pillow Talk”

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I’m a huge fan of producer Will Yip (The Wonder Years, Light Years, Balance and Composure), so I became really excited when I heard that he would be working with Major League on their new album There’s Nothing Wrong With Me.  “Pillow Talk,” the album’s first single, showcases the band in an entirely different light compared to their 2012 debut LP “Hard Feelings.”  With guitarist Brian Joyce now taking charge of vocals, the band’s sound is refreshing and better than ever.  If this song is any indication, they’ve transformed from a fun, promising, but still pretty standard pop punk group into a more mature, introspective band whose thoughtful, nuanced, and passionate style will continue to evolve in ways that could breathe new life into a genre that needs it.  

If you love some of the other bands who have worked with Will Yip, most notably Light Years, who recently toured with Major League, then There’s Nothing Wrong With Me should definitely be on your radar.  It comes out November 4 on No Sleep Records. You can pre-order it here and stream “Pillow Talk” via Absolute Punk.

Light Years- “Temporary”

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Light Years just released the title track from their upcoming EP, “Temporary” (out 9/9 on Animal Style Records), and it showcases the band doing what they do best: pouring their hearts and their impressive craftsmanship into tightly constructed, thoughtfully written, and extremely catchy pop punk songs.  While other bands in the genre may get more attention and bigger fan bases, Light Years show a level of maturity and depth in their musicianship that makes them stand out in a scene that’s saturated with forgettable, younger pop punk bands.

I can’t help but hear hints of “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”-era Blink 182 when I listen to “Temporary,” and that’s a high compliment coming from a longtime fan of that band and album.  Stream the new song via Absolute Punk, and pre-order the EP here.

Citizen- “Silo”

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Citizen are about to go on tour with You Blew It!, Hostage Calm, True Love, and Praise, and they just debuted a new single, “Silo,” that will be released as a tour-only 7″.  It will be limited to 500 copies, with the full band version on the a-side and a stripped down version on the b-side.  It sounds even more raw and gritty than the material on their 2013 LP “Youth,” and calls to mind “The Devil and God…”-era Brand New.

If you like the intersection of grunge and post-hardcore, or if you’re a fan of bands like Brand New and Balance and Composure, this one will be right up your alley.  Stream “Silo” courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan and purchase it for $1 on the Run For Cover Records Bandcamp page.

 

 

 

Senses Fail- “AM:PM” (American Nightmare Cover)

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I always get especially excited when I see new music from Senses Fail. They’ve been one of my all time favorite bands for years, and I came really close to naming this website after one of their songs (I of course decided to go with a Saves The Day song instead).

I’m not too familiar with American Nightmare’s music, but this cover of their song “AM:PM” showcases Buddy Nielsen and his band in top form. The passion, intensity, and grit in his vocals never ceases to amaze me.

The cover is part of “The Big Comp II,” a compilation put out by Big Footprints, 1Bluestring and Property of Zack, which you can download here for $5. 60% of the profits will be going to 1BlueString, a campaign that asks guitarists to replace 1 of their 6 strings with a blue string to symbolize the 1 in 6 men who have survived childhood sexual abuse. The the remaining 40% will be going to The Nature Conservancy for a second year in a row. (via Property of Zack)

Stream “Am:PM” here:

Turnover- “Disintegration”

Turnover went through a pretty remarkable transition between their 2011 self-titled EP and their full length follow-up, Magnolia, which was one of my favorite albums of 2013. So it will be interesting to hear what other shifts in sound and style this band has in store for us with their upcoming EP, Blue Dream, which comes out on August 26.

The EP’s first single, “Disintegration,” begins with a simple, minimalist kind of sound, stripped down to gentle guitar arpeggios and subdued vocals that enhance the song’s especially reflective, introspective lyrics. Then, a little beyond the halfway mark, the emotional floodgates open as the chill guitars and somber vocal style abruptly give way to a beautifully noisy, turbulent crescendo that pretty much leaves me speechless every time I listen to it.

If you’re a fan of Balance and Composure or Brand New (especially their 2006 magnum opus The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me), you’ll most likely love “Disintegration.” Stream it below, courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan, pre-order their EP here, and fall in love with this extremely talented, ever-evolving, genre defying band.

The band will also be touring with Light Years and Malfunction this fall. Tour dates are listed below.

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2014/07/turnover_releas.html

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Turnover — 2014 Tour Dates

SEP 17 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 18 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 19 – Long Island, NY @ Amityville Music Hall w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 20 – Howell, NJ @ Gamechanger World w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 21 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 23 – Holyoke, MA @ The Waterfront Tavern w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 24 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ Pizza Shop w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 25 – New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 26 – Ottawa, ON @ Pressed w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 27 – Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck Bar w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 28 – Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room w/ Light Years, Malfunction
SEP 30 – Cincinatti, OH @ Legends w/ Light Years, Malfunction
OCT 01 – Lansing, MI @ Macs Bar w/ Light Years, Malfunction
OCT 02 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen w/ Light Years, Malfunction
OCT 03 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s 20 Lanes w/ Light Years, Malfunction

The American Scene- “Royal Blue”

The American Scene are one of those hard to categorize bands that usually just get lumped into that amorphous genre called “indie rock.” They’re also an extremely underrated band who I hope will get the attention they deserve with the release of their upcoming album, “Haze” (out September 9 via Pure Noise Records). The band showcases an interesting hybrid sound on “Royal Blue,” the album’s first single, that lies somewhere between the slightly hazy, grungy, post-hardcore/emo influenced style typified by bands like Balance and Composure and Seahaven and the jangly, sun drenched indie rock crafted by Tokyo Police Club.

Their ability to create such a well-balanced blend of sounds and to carve out a significant niche for themselves in the indie rock scene might help them experience some crossover success. I think this new single will appeal to fans of more poppy, mainstream indie rock as well as fans of less accessible and less polished bands in the post-hardcore/post-rock/emo genres. I’m really excited for the new album and to see what kinds of success and recognition it earns this especially talented band.

You can stream “Royal Blue” below and pre-order “Haze” here.

Hostage Calm- “Your Head/Your Heart”

Hostage Calm have gone through quite an interesting evolution over the course of their first three albums, transitioning from a straight up melodic hardcore/punk band into one with more of a penchant for power pop. If this new single, “Your Head/Your Heart” is any indication, their upcoming album, “Die On Stage” should solidify their status as a strong power pop band.

Given that the track sounds a bit like a Beatlesque/Elvis Costello-style punk hybrid song, it’s especially appropriate that the band chose to pay tribute to the Fab Four with the video. Stream it below and check out the artwork and tracklist from “Die On Stage” below, courtesy of A.V. Club. The album will be released via Run For Cover Records on September 16.

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Die On Stage

1. When You Know
2. A Thousand Miles Away From Here
3. Love Against!
4. Someone Else
5. Fallen Angel
6. Your Head / Your Heart
7. Raised
8. 12/31
9. Darling You
10. Past Ideas Of The Future

Taking the “guilt” out of “guilty pleasures”

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What do All Time Low, Yellowcard, Ke$ha, Chingy, and Taylor Swift all have in common? Before you start formulating a bunch of judgy, sarcarstic answers, I’ll just go ahead and say that they’re all artists I’ve typically considered to be “guilty pleasures,” a term I’ve recently begun to deconstruct and reevaluate. What leads us to define a band or an artist as a “guilty pleasure,” and why do we attach a sense of guilt to music that we sincerely enjoy? As someone with an especially eclectic taste in music, I’ve come to accept that my preferences encompass everything from emo, post-hardcore, and indie-folk, to hip hop one hit wonders and even a few irresistibly catchy pop songs that eventually climb their way into the iTunes top 10. And while I wouldn’t have included Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz” on my “Top 10 Albums of 2013” list, I don’t feel guilty about having enjoyed listening to the entire album multiple times when it came out last fall.

We all have songs in our iTunes or Spotify libraries that we feel slightly embarrassed about, just as we all own music that we consider a little more “cutting edge,” which gives us a certain “indie cred” or makes us feel as though we have more refined tastes. This same description could also be applied to our Netflix queues or our bookshelves; most of us enjoy supplementing our typical cinematic and literary diets with at least a few rom-coms and beach books. Our tastes and desires are often unpredictable; a song will catch our ear or a movie or book will appeal to our senses “just because,” and it’s a bit ludicrous that we feel the need to justify our reasons for liking it and attach so much meaning to something that gives us a certain pleasure.

I certainly have different reasons for liking bands such as The Smiths or From Indian Lakes as compared to bands like All Time Low or New Found Glory. The former are bands I appreciate for their strong musicianship, unique songwriting and lyrical depth, whereas the latter are bands that feel fun and carefree to listen to and usually find their way onto my running or road trip playlists. It wouldn’t feel fair for me to say that From Indian Lakes are a “better” or “more talented” band than All Time Low; they’re just different bands who appeal to different audiences and sensibilities. I’ll admit that the more nuanced, intricately constructed songs that From Indian Lakes write tend to appeal more to my general tastes and senses, but I’ll also admit that All Time Low’s tightly crafted melodies and soaring choruses are total ear candy to me, and I admire the way in which they’re able to deliver such consistently strong, catchy pop punk songs.

I derive a great deal pleasure from listening to pop punk bands and pop singers, and even though I have friends and colleagues who give me shit for listening to them, I don’t attach any guilt or shame to these pleasures. I probably listen to “poppy” bands and artists just as much as I listen to artists in the “indie rock/emo/post hardcore” vein, and I don’t see one grouping of artists as “less than” the other. Rather, I feel like both groups complement each other and lend a nice sense of balance to my listening habits. I mean, I gotta have a little Miley alongside my Morrissey…

Maybe we should consider replacing the term “guilty pleasure” with “just for fun.” It still provides an accurate description of bands and artists who you might not take too seriously or whose lyrics don’t necessarily make you pause and reflect, but it sounds way more positive and accepting. If we reframe our language in this way, it might free us up from feeling that silly sort of guilt and embarrassment that sometimes comes with admitting to your friends that you’re kind of a huge Britney fan (even though you mostly listen to indie rock…) We all have a wide array of preferences and things that appeal to our senses, and sometimes they have no real rhyme or reason. So let’s embrace them all, whether we think they serve to enhance our intellectual prowess or whether they’re “just for fun.”

“The Summer So Far”

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Here’s a little sampling of some of the best music that’s been released within the past couple of months (all the best stuff that’s actually available to stream on spotify, to be exact). It spans several different genres and it’s a little over an hour long.

Highlights include a new track by Odesza; a song from former Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly’s new project, No Devotion; a Weezer cover by You Blew It!; an acoustic song by Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years from his new side project, Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties; and the best song of the summer so far (in my opinion) “Sleeping Limbs” by From Indian Lakes.