On his third record under the Slaughter Beach, Dog moniker, Jake Ewald has found a way to be an emotional and interesting storyteller. Safe and Also No Fear is the former Modern Baseball singer’s most consistent effort with the project yet. While the musician still paints very specific sketches of people and places, he isn’t as concerned about stories, as he was on Welcome, or finding a new voice for himself, as he was on Birdie. Safe has the confidence of a band that have finally found their voice and wanted to make a great record that expands on what they’ve built. Continue reading
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
Camp Cope has positioned themselves as a hyper-political pop-punk band that will fight against sexism, gun rights, sexual abuse, and so much more, but the Australian trio is so much more than that. While Camp Cope utilize their platform to speak about equality and representation, their best songs are deeply personal. The band writes numbers that rage and songs that can let your entire world break around you, and How to Socialise & Make Friends really makes way for both of those worlds. Continue reading
Earlier this year, I made an effort to keep track of every album (regardless of release date) I listened to in 2017. I gave up around May, but maybe I’ll try again for 2018. By the time I called it quits, I’d listened to 122 albums, and upon reviewing the list, I did see a bunch of albums I did really enjoy but forgot about. My best-of list will feature my top picks of albums that stuck with me from the time they came out until now, but these honorable mentions were also pretty great albums that I feel deserve some recognition. In no particular order, some of the other great albums from 2017 are:
Lil Peep-Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One)
The morning I found out about Lil Peep’s death was strange. I’d liked some of his songs, but his music hadn’t really grabbed and held me like it had for others. I still felt sad, mainly just seeing someone younger than me die of an overdose. I went back and listened to this album again that day, and I was surprised by how much it resonated with me. Lil Peep is the sort of artist I wish I had when I was fourteen, because it’s relatable and catchy. It really makes me upset that I wish I could’ve seen what else he could’ve done, not just for music, but for young sad kids that I do see a lot of myself in.
Black Kids’ first album in nine years was a lovely return to form. It’s an easily danceable indie-rock record with a bunch of quotable lines. “Iffy” and “Obligatory Drugs” are perfect examples of how Black Kids maintain the same energy that could’ve left them an indie one-hit-wonder. Continue reading
There are plenty of pop-punk bands. Had I been maybe 10 years younger, I’d probably adore Knuckle Puck, Real Friends, or Neck Deep, but I’m a cynical 23 year old. My pop-punk requires a little more substance. Bands like The Menzingers, The Wonder Years, or Modern Baseball are all able to provide this to me. There are unique aspects to the brands of pop-punk that each of these bands provide, where the first three all sort of blend together. Maybe it’s just the Barnett connection to the Menzingers, but my better senses tell me that Captain, We’re Sinking’s The King of No Man really shouldn’t be a record that I love as much as I do. Continue reading
The independent label has followed in the footsteps of Run For Cover Records and Aaron West and placed all their music on Bandcamp to “pay-what-you-want” with proceeds going to Planned Parent Hood and The Southern Poverty Law Center. Tiny Engines has released music by The Hotelier, Dikembe, Adult Mom (who was on our post-election playlist), and many more. Listen and donate via Bandcamp.
Dan Campbell’s project Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties has posted all music on Bandcamp at a “pay-what-you-want” price. The Wonder Years’ frontman is donating proceeds to ACLU, similar to Run For Cover Records’ donations. The releases include We Don’t Have Each Other, Bittersweet, and a sweet cover of The Weakerthans’ “My Favourite Chords.” Listen and donate via Bandcamp.
The Boston-based label has put up their entire discography on bandcamp so listeners can pay what they want. RFC will also match donations up to $5000, and the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood. RFC has released music from Modern Baseball, Hostage Calm, Tigers Jaw, Koji, Crying, and more. Donations can be made via bandcamp.