Views from Sad Summer Fest-Philadelphia 2019

sad-summer-wonder-years

            After the anti-climatic “end” of the Warped Tour last year, there was a gap left open for a touring festival that caters to a faction of teenagers that feel disenfranchised and adults that suffer from Peter Pan-syndrome.  Enter the inaugural year of the Alt Press-sponsored Sad Summer fest, a new touring festival marketed toward Millenials that went to Warped and Gen Z-ers who probably never got the chance.  On the Philadelphia date of the tour, Sad Summer brought a huge amount of nostalgia with a looming sense of irony that only a bunch of once-depressed teens could indulge. Continue reading

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Say Anything-Oliver Appropriate

After having written multiple cornerstones of emo’s hey day and revival, Max Bemis is ready to call it a day for Say Anything.  With Oliver Appropriate, Bemis is bidding farewell to the band that’s secured him a place on emo night playlists for decades to come with some of his best work.  Oliver Appropriate is an album of realization and acceptance, and it puts a bow on the emo outfit’s long career. Continue reading

boygenius-boygenius

The idea of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus forming a band and releasing a great EP almost sounds like a joke.  While each is distinctive from the next, they’re all within the same ballpark; it’s sounds too good to be true.  Also, this record is the real fucking deal.  It wouldn’t be a shocker if it was a cheap cash-in EP for a massive tour, but it’s an unbelievably dynamic record.  If each of these women wanted to quit their solo careers and just focus on boygenius, I’m sure it would be just as compelling.  What makes boygenius an engaging listen is the exact same thing that makes each singer’s solo albums engaging, they’re strong women who find that strength in being vulnerable and emotional. Continue reading

Joyce Manor-Million Dollars to Kill Me

Joyce Manor’s 2016 album Cody showed a band that was willing to take a step away from the abrasive, no bullshit pop-punk that they’d perfected into a band with similar ethics but making more power-pop inspired indie rock.  Sure, there were still pop-punk bangers like “Fake I.D.” and “Reversing Machine,” but songs like “Eighteen” or “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I” fell more into a sort of Blue Album worship in crafting great pop-savvy indie rock.  Million Dollars to Kill Me doesn’t feel like a continuation of Cody nor does it feel like it’s picking up after Never Hungover Again; it sounds like a band that is truly without a care and is making whatever the hell it wants. Continue reading

Death Cab For Cutie-Thank You For Today

            Death Cab For Cutie have always been a respectable indie-rock act with personable lyrics that appeal to people that may also dabble with theatrical emo.  Ben Gibbard and company have always created serviceable sad jams.  Even on 2015’s Kintsugi, despite age and maturity, Gibbard was able to bring the self-loathing goods on a song like “No Room in Frame.”  Thank You For Today sees the band’s expansion of sound that they began exploring on Codes and Keys, but it also sees the band peddling back into their early material.  The album comes out feeling like an incoherent blob of ennui. Continue reading

Real Friends-Composure

In “Stand Steady,” the second track off of Real Friends’ third full-length Composure, frontman Dan Lambton sings, “It’s good that I’ve grown.”  In pop-punk, Peter Pan-syndrome runs rampant, and records about growing will always be in vogue.  Whether they’re about resisting development or the difficulties of growing, this is a pop-punk standard, but Real Friends hasn’t really grown or changed besides switching up their charade. Continue reading

Petal-Magic Gone

               Despite 2015’s Shame being a powerful debut filled with pounding hits (“Tommy”) and emotive ballads (“Heaven”), it didn’t really deliver nearly as much as one would hope a debut would.  Kiley Lotz, Petal’s songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, revealed in a recent piece for Out that this would be the first album where she has songs about her sexuality.  Magic Gone sees Lotz jumping over any hurdles that Shame couldn’t completely clear.  The songs are fearless and well-crafted on Magic Gone.  Lotz retains the charm of her first album, but she holds nothing back here. Continue reading

Spanish Love Songs-Schmaltz

LA’s Spanish Love Songs have all the promise of a band that can have real staying power.  They have the hunger of a band that wants people to hear their songs and feelings, and they have the talent to back it up.  Their latest album Schmaltz brings the breakneck intensity of hardcore, but the emotionality and varied sounds of emo.  They take the heartland-americana punk sounds of bands like The Gaslight Anthem or The Menzingers and tie in the heavy pop-punk sounds reminiscent of Upsides-era Wonder Years.  Schmaltz sees a band in the formative stages of becoming an excellent act that will only get better. Continue reading