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Contributors: Ben, Jorge, Konrad, Reggy, and Chris

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Band: Meneguar

Band location: Brooklyn, New York

Why we like it: Hey! Every Thursday we’re going to start talking about some of our favorite “older” records. Kind of like a….a throwback..on a Thursday. Oh dear God let’s call it Throwback Thursday! Great!!

So for our first Throwback Thursday I want to talk about Meneguar. Before Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere were in Woods they were in Meneguar. Meneguar is nothing like the psychedelic folk band that succeeded it which blows my mind because they are clearly the better band. I mean I’m not saying Woods are a bad band, they’re actually very good but this band came and went and nobody gave a shit.

They’re a rock band that had some of the catchiest choruses 15 year old Gio had ever heard. I’m turning 24 in about two weeks and I still think that they’re one of the best guitar bands in recent memory. Check out I Was Born at Night or Strangers In Our House.

Where to listen: Spotify

Band: Sheer Mag

Band location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Why we like it: This is required listening. I don’t know much about this band other than the fact that they’re from Philadelphia, that they bring the best dang riffs around and that they’re going to blow up once everyone finds out about them. Check them out, buy the demo for one thousand U.S. dollars.

Where to listen: Bandcamp

Band: Blue Friend

Band location: Tokyo, Japan

Why we like it: blue friend’s debut LP, I will be your blue friend, is set to be one of the best screamo releases of the year regardless of country of origin. blue friend’s influences are clear from the outset; the instrumental intro track “En” flows beautifully into the chaos of “Midikai,” a song that has all the atmosphere of Suis La Lune, the riffing of Age Sixteen, and the harshness of Beau Navire wrapped into one.

I will be your blue friend follows more or less in this vein, oscillating from the reserved, sparse guitars and faraway screaming of tracks like “Mezura-C” to the raw emotion of “Kowai” or “Warui.” The best songs, though, are the long, the building, the multifaceted, like “Dasai” or “Saisho,” songs that go through several movements en route to a powerful close. They tie together everything blue friend are capable of, which is impressive in itself. Writing a few riffs and stringing them together is one thing; writing a record as dynamic as I will be your blue friend is another.

The record is out now via Dog Knights Productions in the United Kingdom. No Guidance Music and Art Collective and Skeletal Lightning will have it in the U.S. soon.

Where to buy it/listen: Dog Knights Productions

- Ben Curttright

Band: HOMESHAKE (Peter Sagar)

Band location: Montreal, Canada

Why we like it: So, Peter Sagar, Mac Demarco’s groovy lead guitarist, had appealed to me in a plethora of ways since the first time Gio bumped Homeshake in my broken down 99’ chevy blazer driving down route 46 west. Since then, I very often find myself tolerating whatever long drives I’ve got to conquer with Peter Sagar’s weird and moody melodies flooding whatever is left of my half-blown speakers.

Unfortunately and as far as I know, the Homeshake collection is pretty minimal. The self titled tape (released around Jan 2013), and a quick six day recording sesh mixtape titled *Dynamic Meditation* (released Oct 2013) are the only obtainable releases under this dudes belt. Consequentially I’ve had a lot of time to listen to these self-recorded lo-fi tunes over and over in a wide range of playback mediums and I can honestly say I still experience the same amount of internal excitement track by track. Mmmmm, very infrequently I find an artist that doesn’t bore me even a little, and Pete’s sigh-like, pitch misleading vocals, interesting VHS transition samples, sleazy and rarely perfected drums, sensually inspiring lead and rhythm guitars, and dark, jazzy, r&b bass riffs truly keep me coming back for more without a second thought.

With that being said, I was very excited to hear and read about the upcoming full length that’s due on October 7th off Sinderlyn this year. The only taste I’ve been able to get my tongue on is *this* single that has been floating around the net titled ‘Cash is Money’ and boy, am I stoked. Right off the bat, you can tell the recording process, at least on this track, is of a higher caliber and Pete is taking his writing abilities to a new level. On headphones you can hear that progress even more clearly; the smooth 16th note drum track, dancing bass licks, pitch shifting vocals, tremolo ringing guitars (I’m now convinced tremolo is cool again) and hay wiring synth things are swaying all around me so harmoniously. I feel like dimming the lights, lighting a boge and forcefully day-dream about what the next transition sample and unique track will sound like.

'Cash is Money' is a tease. It's an unbreachable treasure chest that will only open on October 7th.

Where to listen: Soundcloud


- Konrad

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

224 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

104 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.

98 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

48 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”

98 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.

79 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