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Contributors: Ben, Jorge, Reggy, and Chris

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Band: Bellows

Band location: Brooklyn, New York

Why we like it: Oliver Kalb, also known as Bellows, is nothing short of a genius. I showed my friends this record on a long, traffic-filled car ride and I think it was perfect for the occasion. Blue Breath is a beautifully textured record that honestly sounds too good to have been recorded over few months time in a collection of bedrooms.

About halfway into the record, my friends got upset because on every track I said, “I love his vocals on this track.” But truly, I do. The layers, on top of layers, on top of layers of his vocals on every track are astounding. His low octave mellow voice is so soothing over the tranquil nature of the instrumentals.

The intricate and interesting beats going on and off at any moment make for such an enjoyable close listening experience of Blue Breath. On top of that, panned all over are dreamy, serine guitar lines and adorable synths that seemingly fade in at all the right moments.

This is a record that not only should be listened to over and over, but NEEDS to be listened to over and over. At any given moment there are at least six or seven different tracks going off at once, meaning to really take it all in it has be listened to closely several times. To arrange such thoughtfully textured music is difficult for most bands that are made up of multiple people; Kalb’s ability to create such full arrangements while altogether making it catchy is such an incredible gift to modern pop music.

Where to listen: Bandcamp

- Jorge Velez

198 plays
Joyce Manor,
Never Hungover Again

Band: Joyce Manor

Band location: Torrance, California

Why we like it: I remember listening to this album when it was streaming on NPR a few weeks ago with Jess on our drive back from a show. We hated it. I can’t speak on her behalf but I felt like it sounded like a completely different band and for whatever reason I just didn’t welcome that.

Fast forward a few weeks. I am in love with this album and Jess has this cd playing in her car on repeat. What changed? For me, I realized that I felt the same way about their 2012 release, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired. I listen to that album very often now and didn’t like it because it sounded like a completely different band and…well I didn’t quite welcome that. I’ve noticed this is a problem with Joyce Manor fans and they’ve addressed this as well in interviews. They released a perfect pop punk album with their self titled and everyone just wanted more of the same but that’s boring. People change, their tastes change and ultimately nobody wants to see a band release the same album over and over again.

Never Hungover Again is the product of what a matured pop punk band sounds like. Songs like “Falling in Love Again” and “Schley” aren’t really pop punk songs and it’s a very welcome change. Despite all of the changes, there are still some songs for those that were a fan of the self titled such as “Catalina Fight Song” and “Heart Tattoo”.  This is a phenomenal release from a band that is proving that they can do no wrong.

Where to buy: Epitaph

- Gio

100 plays
Panucci's Pizza,
All of my Friends are Familiar and the Steps I Took to Realize This

Band: Panucci’s Pizza

Band location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania; also, my heart

Why we like it: Panucci’s Pizza are two pizza loving nerds I hold close to my heart. My relationship with them started when I reviewed their first LP, Don’t Tip The Delivery Boy over on Funeral Sounds. I adored it. To this day it is still the best thing I’ve had to review over there. Apparently they were so happy with the review, both ended up writing for Funeral Sounds and in the process became my friends.

Fast forward a little less than a year’s time. Fast forward past shows where they built up their scene in Downingtown, put out a plethora of acoustic EP’s/demos/splits with other fantastic groups (Robins, Bonjour Machines, Unraveler, Bag of Bones to name a few), and gain over a thousand facebook likes, it’s easy to say Panucci’s have only been working hard.

With how busy they’ve been, it’s sometimes easy to overlook how much growth happens. Which is why I’m in love with this record. In today’s scene, we are so fucking oversaturated with music, and although most of it is good, it can be a bad thing. Why? Well, we stop looking for growth. Yes, we can talk about growth from record to record as musicians and how much more experimentation and confidence stems from bands growing, but, what about growth as people?

This is why I love Panucci’s Pizza.

As a close friend of Matt Diamond, vocalist and guitarist of Panucci’s, I can wholeheartedly say I’ve seen his growth as a person. Don’t Tip The Delivery Boy is a good record, don’t get me wrong. But it’s an immature record about a bad breakup. Yes, easy to relate to. Yes, a good listen.

But All of my Friends are Familiar and the Steps I Took to Realize This is about a human’s experience in seeing the world through new eyes.

Some things about Diamond will never change sure, starting the album on a lyric about getting a degree in “sucking dick” may seem immature, but to say after “Once your mouth is gone you won’t have any source of ignorance” is almost like him acknowledging not only self-loathing in a different light, but also Diamond’s acknowledgment of his past self. He now sees a younger version of his self who would write lyrics about “sucking dick” all the while waiting for his life to fall apart.

But that’s not who he is. That’s not what Panucci’s Pizza was ever about. The younger self was waiting for life to fall apart. Nearly a year later Panucci’s Pizza can write lyrics like “I have friends now, friends that love me, more than I love myself. All of my friends are familiar.”

Where to buy/listen: Bandcamp

68 plays
King's Girls,

Band: King’s Girls

Band location: Halifax, Canada

Why we like it: It’s screamo pride month. Today is August 7th which means I have to introduce a friend to a screamo band. Do you think music bloggers have friends? We don’t. You’re my only friends.

My boy Alex from Heiße fame put me onto these guys and I told him “alex this is sick”. King’s Girls are one of the best screamo bands I’ve listened to in years. By no means is this anything new but it’s done incredibly well. For fans of emo violence (that’s emo and power violence for those of you that are not familiar with the term). 

Where to listen: Bandcamp

:ate For School Sessions: Crying - “ES”

Song 3/3 of our session with Crying! Check out the other Crying videos and other Late For School Sessions videos here.

96 plays

Band: INCA

Band location: Baltimore, Maryland

Why we like it: My absolute favorite thing about INCA’s debut record is all of the different places that it takes me. One minute I’m in the middle of a twinkly emo inspired jam and then somehow I’m in the middle of the Jurassic Park theme song. All of these places are not of my particular flavor, for instance the track “Running Around The Tree” seems to be their version of “Rock Lobster”, but not everything has to appeal to just my taste. That’s really this records best weapon. It’s sound diversity keeps the whole album interesting to listen to.

The song structures overall seem to vary. The record begins with a jazzy/mathy track and ends with a ridiculous ballad called Molly. All of the songs have a handful of elements which I think define the band. The tone of all the instruments, the humorous “don’t take yourself too seriously” approach, and it’s overall sentimentality.

Inca are unique for their massive indie appeal. Do you like bands like Volcano Choir and Pele? You’ll Love Inca. How about Dirty Projectors or Alt-J? Yeah - listen to this record.

This band doesn’t skip a beat with their live performance either. If anything they deliver harder, better, faster and stronger. All of the separate layers, harmonies and grooves shine through while these guys are on the stage. If anything this band makes me reminiscent of early White Denim. If you ever get the chance to see them, please do.

Where to listen: Bandcamp

46 plays
Ronald Paris,

Band: Ronald Paris

Band Location: Brooklyn, New York

Why We Like It: Aaron Maine is a musician who knows how to win the hearts of his fans over. His other project, Porches., put out one of the best indie rock records of 2013, Slow Dance in the Cosmos.Now with Ronald Paris, Maine shows a side of himself that’s not as open in Porches. music. For as explicit as Porches. may be at times, Ronald Paris is a little more innocent in nature. And for that, we see Maine at his most vulnerable.

“Leather” is the song that is most like Porches. and yet, not at all. Dreamy, reverb-drenched guitars follow a keyboard lick as Maine’s vocals lightly caress the sonic spectrum of this incredibly full-sounding mix. Maine is exploring the darker aspects of his writing when he says, “I want to trade my blue jeans in for leather/I want to hold her unholy hand”. It’s not necessarily the words on paper, but rather the haunting weight Maine’s words carry, in the kind of delivery David Bazaan might present. And with Greta Kline’s (better known as Frankie Cosmos) harmonies, this song becomes even more grim while holding itself together as a pop tune in the most unorthodox sounding way.

It’s as if Ronald Paris is Maine’s playground for all his odder ideas. The auto-tune on the harmonies of “Myystic” is warm and not daunting. In fact, I may be the first one to ever say it, but the auto-tune truly made this song special and original. It added an interesting texture to snug itself into the corners of all the fuzzy, bright keyboards that accompany this song.

It’s like Maine meticulously crafted these songs together, as if to have “Leather” and “Myystic” around purely to set up the blissful “Protect”. Transposed vocals are another odd choice not many musicians use very cleverly, but here Maine uses them to accompany ethereal reverb drenched keys. As notes drag on it almost feels like this track will never end and it’s all one hazy dream. In merely 3 songs Maine has the ability to grasp his listener’s consciousness and completely take them somewhere else. And truly that is the power of a musician who knows their craft.


Where to listen: Bandcamp


- Jorge Velez

Late For School Session: Crying - “Rat Baby”

90 plays
Radiator Hospital,
Torch Song

Band: Radiator Hospital

Band location: Philadelphia, PA

Why we like it: I’m always stuck in a rut when it comes to looking for new music. 2014 is the year of folk and soft rock, both which aren’t my personal cup of tea.  The production of music with “oomph” is getting slimmer and slimmer as days pass, and finding a band that comes to my liking is just as  rare. Luckily, one of the groups we recently found has quenched my thirst.  This group is Radiator Hospital.

On Radiator Hospital’s Torch Song if they have a message they want to tell you in a song, youll get it with no filler. With the longest song in this 15 track album hovering around 3 minutes, every song is short and sweet. Brevity is something they hold with high regards. This review may have you believing it is some sort of speed punk album but it isn’t, they just know exactly what they want to say it and waste no time telling you. Even their “softer songs” are upfront with their intent. This is a great album to listen to if you need a little more energy in your music.

Where to listen: Bandcamp

Where to buy: Salinas Records

- Reggy

Late For School Session: Crying - “Mother We Share” (CHVRCHES cover)

We went to Brooklyn to film Crying back in June. This was fun and also our first full band electric session! Song 1/3 of the session. Check back next week for the other two songs.

80 plays
After the End

Band: Merchandise

Band location: Tampa, Florida

Why we like it: Merchandise has been one of the more interesting bands to follow in the past few years. When I first listened to Strange Songs (In The Dark) it sounded like a confused mess of electronic pop/noise. Songs like “I Locked The Door” and “Worthless Apology” made it clear that they could easily be a pop band if they had any desire to.

Children of Desire was less noisy and more post punk with a heavy pop influence. Carson Cox’s vocals were brought to the forefront and Dave Vassalotti really got to show off that he is one of the best guitarists around today. While it was one of my favorite releases of 2012, it felt a bit lost at times.

After the End is Merchandise’s first record on 4AD (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The National, Bon Iver) and it’s definitely their most refined work yet. Although they are on a larger label now they’re still very true to their DIY ethics. The entire album was recorded and produced by Cox although it was mixed by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Grizzly Bear).

This time around they aren’t really playing seven minute post punk songs. After the End is a pop record and a strong album of the year contender. Vassalotti shows off his versatility by replacing the psychedelic riffs with some lovely hooks. There are plenty of radio ready hits on here such as “Enemy” and “Little Killer”. “Life Outside The Mirror” and “Exile and Ego” really allow Cox’s Morrissey-ish croon to shine and push them into a different direction from the post-punk band we were used to.

Merchandise will be on tour this fall. Check the dates out here

Where to buy: After The End comes officially comes out on August 26th. Buy it through 4AD

- Gio

460 plays
Liam Betson,
The Cover of Hunter

Band: Liam Betson

Band location: New Jersey, USA?

Why we like it: Liam Betson was formerly in Titus Andronicus and previously recorded under the moniker Liam The Younger. “The Cover Of Hunter” is his first release under his own name and his first with up and coming label Double Double Whammy (LVL UP, Frankie Cosmos, Crying). It features appearances from members of Big Troubles, Titus Andronicus and Julian Lynch.

From start to finish, this is a great record. The Cover of Hunter starts off with the eight minute “I Can’t Tell If You’re Looking At Me”. Betson’s imagery and delivery as well as Lynch’s clarinet shine in this song. At times it sounds like Bright Eyes and at times it sounds like LVL UP. For his first studio recorded album, Betson and company did a fantastic job. There isn’t one skippable song on here.

Speaking of LVL UP, they’re going on tour with Liam Betson this summer.

Tour dates below:

8/18 Philadelphia, PA @ Golden Tea House w/ Sheer Mag, Spirit of the Beehive
8/19 Montclair, NJ @ Bat Cave w/ Toasted Plastic
8/20 Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5 w/ Spacemonster
8/21 Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong w/ Max Levine Ensemble
8/22 Pittsburgh, PA @ The People’s Warehouse w/ WC Lindsay, Steady Hands, Denzell, I am a Sea Creature
8/23 Columbus, OH @ TBA w/ Tin Armor, All Dogs
8/29 Hamden, CT @ The Space w/ Loner Chic, High Pop, Krill
8/30 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium w/ Andrew Cedarmark, Mitski

Where to listen: Bandcamp

Where to buy: DDW

68 plays
Slow Warm Death,

Band: Slow Warm Death

Band location: Pennsylvania/New York

Why we like it: Despite loving his work with Snowing and Street Smart CyclistSlow Warm Death is my favorite band featuring John Galm. I wrote this very long thing about it but unfortunately I wrote it on here and my browser crashed twice due to me being on the Slow Warm Death webpage. As if the irony of an Angelfire webpage wasn’t enough, imagine how I felt when my Macbook Pro crashed from going on that Angelfire.

Slow Warm Death was a garage band fronted by Galm. The opening track “Sleep” starts off with an acoustic guitar and Galm singing which is all too familiar from listening to his solo work. When you least expect it, distorted guitars and heavily reverberated vocals come in which really do a great job of setting the tone for the album. Lyrically, Galm’s outlook is still pretty bleak. I mean the guy is singing about someone wanting to kill him, killing someone or being alone and they still manage to make it sound catchy.

Slow Warm Death weren’t really an original band by any means but they really nailed the sound. Nothing new was brought to the table but the riffs are great and Galm’s use of vibrato really sets it apart from other bands. They put out what was easily one of my favorite albums of 2013 and if you’re a fan of his prior work you should check it out.

Where to listen: Bandcamp

Where to buy: Square of Opposition

- Gio

120 plays
Youth Novel,
Turned Around Abruptly Beside a Mirror and Jumped at My Own Reflection

Band: Youth Novel 

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Why we like it: Somewhere between the noisy chaos of bands like Orchid and Beau Navire and the slower catharsis of I Hate Myself, there is a relatively small pocket of bands that manage to balance melodic elements, punk influences, aggressive tones, and raw emotion and create music that flows and builds without departing from screamo. These are the calculator.s, the Suis La Lunes of the scene. With the release of Turned Around Abruptly (Skeletal Lightning, 2014), we can safely add Youth Novel to the list. 

Youth Novel have been around for about a year now, but Turned Around Abruptly represents a significant shift in their sound. Gone are any hints of pop-punk sensibilities; they’ve been replaced by overdriven guitars, distorted vocals, and a whole lot of 6/8 time.

‘II’ in particular shows what Youth Novel can do as songwriters; it’s the shortest track on the EP by far, but it still manages to link together several distinct movements into a coherent song. The melodic, almost-twinkly bits are musically interesting and provide an excellent counterpoint to Sean Horner and John Dickinson’s dual screams.

That said, Turned Around Abruptly is markedly strong throughout. From the first jangly chord riff of ‘I’ to the dying notes of ‘IV,’ it’s clear that Youth Novel have discovered their sound on this EP.

Where to buy/listen: Bandcamp

- Ben

Foozle / Quarterbacks Circuit City (New Brunswick, NJ) 07222014 (Photos taken by Jessica-Joan Causing)