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Introducing: Coaster (Exclusive Song Stream)

Coaster promo photo

Photo: Jess Myers

If you’re fortunate enough to catch the upcoming Appleseed Cast tour and you’re stoked to see Adjy and Annabel opening the bill, you might want to be a little extra early to catch the fourth (possibly lesser known, but no less deserving) band on the bill. That band, you may have noticed, is called Coaster, and they happen to feature Seth Engel of Options and The City On Film (the latter you might recognize as the primarily solo + friends vehicle for Bob Nanna of Braid).

Got your attention? Tight. If any band name-dropped above catches your interest at all, you won’t be disappointed with what Coaster have on offer, either. This is solid, straight-forward self-described “pop / DIY rock and roll” that hits your brain hard in dopamine triggers. Stream “Paralyzed” below now, and if you dig what you hear, keep in mind it’ll be appearing on the band’s EP, Slow Jams, due out June 30 on Community Records (pre-order here).

Tour Dates supporting The Appleseed Cast and Adjy:

06/25 – Wichita, KS @ Marple
06/25 – Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silver Leaf
06/27 – Austin, TX @ Red 7
06/28 – Norman, OK @ Opolis
07/01 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
07/02 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
07/03 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
07/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
07/06 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
07/07 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
07/10 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
07/11 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
07/12 – Victoria, BC @ Logan’s
07/13 – Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt
07/15 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
07/16 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive *
07/17 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb *
07/18 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room *

* with Annabel

Correction: This story initially stated Dads would be included on this tour. However, they have dropped off the bill and Adjy have taken their place. The story has been updated to reflect this change.

Introducing: Super Unison

Photo by Matthew Kadi

Photo by Matthew Kadi

Show of hands: who would have predicted that ex-members of Snowing and Punch would form a go-for-the-throat hardcore punk supergroup? That looks like … exactly no one. However, that’s exactly what we’re getting with the recently formed Super Unison (no word on whether the name is borrowed from the Drive Like Jehu song), and we’re all the better for it.

Don’t put your tissues away and finally stop yourself from crying over the dissolution of Snowing and vocalist (and now Super Unison bassist as well) Meghan O’Neill’s departure from Punch just yet, though. Fast, abrasive, and only vaguely melodic, this is some thrashy post-hardcore that was meant to hurt your feelings. In terms of drawing reference points back to its members’ previous outfits, this is definitely closer to Punch’s socially-conscious aural assault than Snowing’s spirited take on Midwestern emo’s golden era.

What matters most, though, is how much potential this unit has shown with just one song. “Recognize You” comes across more like a mission statement than a simple hardcore jam; personal catharsis set to the beat of purpose-driven portent of greater things to come. While we wait for a the band’s impending debut 7″ EP, stream “Recognize You” below, and be sure to jump on its preview cassette release once its available next month on Conditions Records.

Listen To A New Meridian Track & Wax Existential With Max Stern

Meridan Band Photo

Photo Credit: Shannon O’Toole

Max Stern keeps himself busy. Less than a year after releasing Light On The Lake with his full-time band Signals Midwest, he’s already back with another LP from his folk-punk side project Meridian titled The Cathedral, due out on vinyl and digital formats on Aug. 19 via Youth Conspiracy Records. We spoke with Stern about the record, and also have an exclusive stream of a new track titled “If You Let Me” that you can check out below. Continue reading…

Introducing: Wayfarer

Wayfarer Promo PhotoI’m a sucker for simple folk songs played by former members of punk and post-hardcore bands. There’s something about the sort of songwriting sensibilities that musicians with backgrounds in heavier styles of music bring to the craft of penning pared-down tunes with little more than their voice and an acoustic guitar. Rocky Votolato did it following his time in Waxwing, Derek Archambault of Defeater is doing it with his solo project Alcoa, Chris McCaughan has been at it for years with Sundowner, and Chuck Ragan has long proven himself more than capable of holding his own in his time away from Hot Water Music. Continue reading…

Continental Obscura: Photographer Ryan Russell Talks About Travel, Chipotle, and His Upcoming Book Debut

Ryan Russell Portrait

Even if you’ve never heard of Ryan Russell, you’ve probably seen his work plastered in the pages of popular music magazines or somewhere on one of your favorite blogs. The prolific photographer has shot some of the biggest bands in punk, hardcore, and indie rock, including everyone from Paramore to Fugazi. He has also branched out to photograph numerous noteworthy celebrities and comedians, as well as work with a number of high-profile brands like Macbeth Footwear, Verellen Amplifiers, and even Ford Motor Company.

It goes without saying that Russell is damn good at what he does. More than that, he’s extremely versatile and never content to stay within the confines of one genre of work. This is well demonstrated by his upcoming book debut Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham, which collects images taken along the way while driving from his hometown in Alabama to his new residence in Seattle. He took a little bit of time to answer some questions for us about the book, its accompanying 7” vinyl EP featuring unreleased tracks from Manchester Orchestra and Minus The Bear, and his love for a certain burrito chain. Continue reading…

Ben Sailer’s Top Records of 2013

Ben SailerI say something similar every year, but there were too many records I enjoyed in 2013 to possibly mention them all in a top ten list; not even one that also includes ten honorable mentions (most of which were good enough to have made it into my top ten as well, but obviously, space dictates that some had to get cut) and a separate section for EPs. This year had a handful of surprises (like Deafheaven‘s Sunbather, which blew up in ways I’m certain no one had predicted), as well as some personal standbys that didn’t disappoint (like Laura Stevenson, Touche Amore, Moving Mountains, and Iron Chic in particular). Overall though, I found my choices stayed within the same genres and styles that I generally gravitate toward, and heading into 2014, I’ve resolved to try stretching my boundaries a little more and check out things I normally wouldn’t. For now, here is a decent cross-section of what I jammed over the course of the past year: Continue reading…

Jesse’s Top Records Of 2013

Admittedly, I haven’t written much about music this year. Between work and life, I found myself pushing the writerly portion of myself off into the background. That’s life. Things happen, our selves adapt. However, that is not to say that I did not enjoy a slew of the music that was released this past year. This year has made me think more about music as a source, to look more at the way it is crafted in order to move and leave the listener with something important, something sometimes intangible, ephemeral. This year has also found me liking bands and genres of music that I had never considered before. It’s odd at this point in my life to find myself growing as a listener, but the bands and sounds I have found this past year make me greatly appreciative of this new element to my journey as receiver. What you’ll find below is a list of the albums that have struck, stuck with, and in some cases, haunted me over the course of 2013. The albums below are in no particular order, except where noted.

Continue reading…

Juan’s Completely Random and Nerdist End Of Year List for 2013

2013 has come and gone. A lot of things went down and crashed and burned. Mostly personal and a few professionally. Thankfully nothing to affect the music site nor my random music listening habits. If one is true of last year, is that a lot of great music came out and as always was a much-welcomed respite from the usual drudgery and beatdown that life can and does provide. It was a hard task to narrow down some of my favorite releases for the year without leaving out quite a few or forgetting about others. So in an effort to be concise and short, here are the few releases that not only WOW’ed me but also maintained themselves in consistent rotation throughout the year thus proving a positive lasting effect.

DFHVNBLACK_GOD_three_1400_1024x1024KaceyShai Hulud

DeafheavenSunbather – The release that took people outside of the aggressive music underground by surprise. It wasn’t a surprise to me. This album epitomizes what a balance of seemingly disparate styles and genres of music should be. All the best elements of black metal and shoegaze and ambient rolled into one mammoth of a beautiful masterpiece.

Black GodIII – The Louisville hardcore punk machine that is Black Good keep at their promise of an EP each year with song no more than three minutes apiece. Fast and furious music for the jaded hardcore punks. Especially those who grew up with and love all the previous bands each member was in.

Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer Different Park – Never surprised to find a non-metal/hardcore/punk album that I got hooked into. In this case, Musgraves may be a singer-songwriter in country and borderline Americana and bluegrass, but lyrically (and attitude) she is all punk rock. Weaving stories denouncing the hypocrisy of small-town America and celebrating doing what you want, when you want, this album may as well be honky-tonk punk rock.

Shai HuludReach Beyond The Sun – Each time these metalcore giants release an album it’s a celebration. Sure enough they beefed things up in their sound and with former vocalist Chad Gilbert handling production and vocals, it was a complete throwback to their rawer sound and style. So glad they’re still at it.

Youth CodeWhirrNINPity sex

Youth CodeYouth Code – Some bands get written off simply because they may sound too much like another band. I initially made that mistake with Youth Code. On first listen I weighed in too much on them being a carbon copy of Skinny Puppy. What I later realized was that although YC are deeply-rooted in the industrial sound, theirs is more with a punk attitude. And that’s what then clicked and I got hooked.

WhirrAround EP – The EP may have been short, but for the San Francisco newgaze band, this was a much noisier and heavier affair than previous outings. Their expanded sound lent to larger ambient landscapes of music that pushed Whirr into something new.

Nine Inch NailsHesitation Marks – It is now clear that with each new NIN album, you don’t know what to expect. Reznor threw everyone for a loop in not only announcing the return of NIN as a touring entity but also releasing a new album. A new album that was a culmination of the typical NIN sound and style borrowing from all previous records. May as well say that Hesitation Marks is the new classic NIN sound.

Pity SexFeast of Love – The fuzz-pop group polished up their sound a bit on this new album. Taking their established elements of shoegaze, pop, and fuzzed-out distortion, and adding a little bit of clarity, Feast of Love was a pretty album to listen to.

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OathbreakerEros|Anteros – Criminally underrated album released this year on Deathwish’s roster. To call this album a monstrous beast of heaviness would be scraping the surface. A heavy metallic exploration of love and hate and life and death, this was Oathbreaker’s mot complex and involved release to date.

The Civil WarsThe Civil Wars – After announcing putting the band on hiatus, the tension between Joy Williams and John Paul White was palpable in this album. The songs are heavy on emotion and thematically give a glimpse on the internal discord that led to the split of the group. This album is the sound of hearts breaking and souls being worn down. It’s a sad affair and felt very much human and a fragility that anyone can relate to.

Sky FerreiraNight Time, My Time – Plenty has already been written about Ferreira and how long this album took to be made and all the hands it got on to finally see the light of day. If you’re able to appreciate noise-drenched, sugary-sweet synth-pop that harkens back to the 80’s, then this is right up your alley. I was initially skeptical given all the P4K-level hype and “infamy” but this ended up being a great surprise to get completely hooked into. Pure pop bliss.

WildhoneyWildhoney – When you combine some of my favorite “noisy” genres of music like shoegaze, fuzz pop, and Brit-pop to created something new, it will certainly catch my ear. And that’s exactly what Wildhoney did. The music is all over the place in varying styles deeply-rooted in the aforementioned but the dreamy vocals anchor it all down to have a sweetness in sound that bands rarely achieve. Their music is sweet and jarring and punky, and completely hooks you the moment you hear it.

My 2013 was not just comprised of sitting at home and listening to some great records. I also left house a few times and caught some shows whenever possible. A few standouts:

Nine Inch Nails – Tension Live 2013 – I caught three shows of this tour: one in Boston and two in Florida. Each time it was better than the previous. As has been documented plenty all over, from the sound to the elaborate and innovative light spectacle, Nine Inch Nails brought what was easily the best tour of the year.

Whirr and Nothing – Tampa, FL. The closest these two noisy newgaze bands would come was a four-hour drive. And a free show to boot! So it was a no-brainer that it would be my only chance to see them. This was the loudest show I have ever attended in my life. And even with earplugs in, the noise and lush sound of each band’s style of shoegaze were undeniably phenomenal and felt like a tidal wave of sound drowning you.

Taylor Swift – The RED Tour – It had been a long time since I went to a show, small-venue or even large arena, where I felt that I was getting a true concert experience. Taylor Swift fixed all of that and proved to have one of the most over-the-top and well-choreographed and best-sounding concerts I had ever been to. From the moment it started and all the way to the end where it rained confetti, it was a non-stop party and experience. It was all that a concert is meant to be in every sense: fun and engaging and musically and visually stunning.

Deafheaven and Marriages – Orlando, FL – Another no-brainer no matter how far of a drive to take. Two great bands. A lot has already been written about Deafheaven. And it’s all true. One of the best bands currently in their respective aggressive music scene. And the addition of Marriages to this tour was a treat. They are a band that more people need to into.

How To Destroy Angels – Boston, MA – As a long-time NIN fanboy, it was an easy decision when How To Destroy Angels announced a run of dates and Boston would be one. Beantown may as well be my home away from him, and to go and get to see Trent Reznor’s side project was a trip well-worth it. As expected, musically and visually, the show was stunning. If there is such a thing as perfection embodied in music and sound and lights and mood, then How To Destroy Angels was the epitome of that perfection.

2014 is already promising to be another solid year in great music and bands coming out. Eagerly expected are new releases from Converge, Nothing, Deafheaven, and ANNE. Anticipation is at a fever-pitch for the debut release of Death of Lovers. At least for me it is.

And surely there is plenty more that has yet to be announced or even hinted at. But if this year is anything like 2013, then we’re all in for a great ride with a killer soundtrack to jam out to.

Throwback Thursday: Saetia – A Retrospective

Saetia - A Retrospective Album ArtYou can’t throw a metaphorical rock on the Internet these days without hitting a trend piece about the resurgence of 90’s emo on a major news outlet (in the case of Buzzfeed, we’ll put “news” in heavy quotation marks). In some ways this is surprising, but perhaps it shouldn’t be. The genre has been exploding in popularity over the past several years, producing an immense number of quality bands and a renewed interest in where this music actually came from. Honest music from talented musicians is getting the attention it deserves, and it’s tough to argue that’s a bad thing.

Frequently left out of this discussion, however, are the bands that forged the genre’s heavier and noisier periphery. While much of the dialogue surrounding the recent emo resurgence has focused on its more poppy and melodic elements, it’s worth revisiting the genre’s angrier side as well. Call it screamo (or its Internet-speak derivative, “skramz”) or post-hardcore or whatever you will, the movement (which never really fully ended) produced a number of acts in the early days that continue to influence newer bands today.

Few bands epitomized this sound better than Saetia. By their own definition, Saetia were a hardcore band. By popular definition, however, they were unequivocally a screamo band. The New York City-based four-piece, whose members would later go on to form Hot Cross and Off Minor (and also shared drummer Greg Drudy with the initial lineup of Interpol in the late 90’s), showed that hardcore could at once be smart, heartfelt, and pissed. Along with similarly minded East coast acts like pg.99 and Orchid, they took the sonic foundation laid by the early 90’s Gravity Records roster and pushed it sufficiently far enough in new directions to establish a generational divide in the genre’s history. Continue reading…

Introducing: Seizures

Seizures Band PhotoAs a genre, technical metalcore (or math metal, or noisecore, or whatever else you want to call it) is both efficient and effective in the way it regulates itself for quality. Nailing rapid-fire tempo changes in 7/4 convincingly and with attitude takes an incredibly high level of musicianship, and if you’re looking for a way to easily latch onto a passing fad, this is the wrong genre for you. That means if you’re going to do this kind of music, then you have to do it right or not at all; its technical requirements demand it, and no one listening is going to have patience with you for just fucking around. Continue reading…