The top four tracks brand new from the week of September 13-19.
Appointments – Julien Baker
Once again, Julien is able to break my heart with a simple song. Her talent as a songwriter is incredible, starting with the guitar work creating such an atmosphere, and her vocals match perfectly. She doesn’t push it to hard or try to show off some crazy runs, but rather using her voice in service of the song. That’s what a true songwriter does. She is able to create such emotion around her song, similar to Ember Island, using piano, guitar, synth, and vocals. There’s such a gift in knowing when to let the chords rest and speak for themselves instead of feeling like there needs to be constant noise. She truly wears her heart on her sleeve, and the raw emotion shines through, even in the quiet. The song swells to the conclusion where she finally jumps the octave and gives it her all. There’s a calmness in this song, as well as in almost all of her music, that reflects the feeling of accepting that everything is not okay, but that’s okay. She’s a gifted artist, able to channel emotion into art. That’s a gift.
RIYL: Pinegrove, Into It. Over It., Julie Byrne
Act I: Elysium 77 Feat. Telle Smith of The Word Alive – MyChildren MyBride
MCMB is back after a 5 year hiatus. Their first single, Thorns, was quite the departure from what they’d become known for, and I was worried that I wouldn’t find a song I liked on this new album. However, this new single lays those worries to rest. This song is heavy, and sounds like the MCMB I loved all those years ago. There are serious remnants of A Plea For Purging in this song with the huge bass drops, and I love it as I miss Plea a whole lot. This video also features Telle of TWA, a big name in the scene, and a great way to get their name back out there. Telle really shines through with his vocals on this track. The production leaves something to be desired, but Michael’s vocals and the instrumentals are incredibly good. This song, along with the other singles they’ve released so far, show a progression into more experimental territory for this band. They have moments that are reminiscent of Deftones with the layered vocals, so it’s cool to see them branch out from the usual chug/2-step music that a lot of people wanted them to come back with.
RIYL: A Plea For Purging, Fit For A King, The Acacia Strain
The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: Penance of Self – Stick To Your Guns
STYG continue on from where they left off, keeping the hardcore genre going strong despite so many bands moving on from the genre. Jesse’s vocals shine through, showing how much he’s grown in the past few years. He started a side project where he sings instead of screams, which has given him the confidence to try it on the last STYG EP, and here as well. The chorus, while going hard, also has a Deftones-esque singing in the background. It’s always cool to see artists channel the artists that inspired them. You can also see the influence of other bands in the genre like Knocked Loose and Texas In July with the guitar work. The breakdown at the end goes hard, and Jesse screaming out “Now I must live with the hurt” makes me want to lift heavy things all over the place. Immediately after this, you once again hear the Knocked Loose influence with the high, dissonant guitar shots between the chugs. It’s incredible to see a band like K//L influence the genre so much in such a short time span. STYG prove with this song that they’re not going anywhere, and they’ll continue to play the heavy music that everyone loves while progressing forward, never treading on the same ground twice.
RIYL: The Ghost Inside, Obey The Brave, Knocked Loose
Out of It – The Story So Far
There’s a good amount of people complaining that this song sounds just like all TSSF songs. And they’re not wrong. But that’s why I love it so much. This band is consistent, and puts out great songs every album. Right from the beginning of the song, you know what you’re in store for. It kicks in with a classic riff that makes you bob your head instantly. Parker moves back towards his more gritty vocals on this song that were missing from their last album. And this song just continues from there. I’m up to 15 plays already on this song because I just find myself coming back to it over and over. It’s so catchy, and what this genre has been missing. There are so many bands that have tried to emulate the sound of The Story So Far, but there’s no disputing the champs, similar to Blink-182 or Sum 41. 2 years is a long time without a new track from these guys, and it’s unmistakable that they still have it. The break-up vibes are strong with this song, and it’s almost like TSSF are the Taylor Swift of Pop-Punk. And just like TSwizzle, I’ll eat it all up. But unlike TSwizzle, this song is actually good (Look what you made me puke). This song came right out of the gate and became an instant favourite, without a doubt a banger of a song. The production is understated and leaves that bit of rawness, really including the ‘punk’ in pop-punk, and the band has grown and matured as musicians. It’s the same stuff you’ve grown accustomed to, but it’s better, more mature, and polished. They know what they’re doing, and they do it well.
RIYL: Trash Boat, In Her Own Words, Like Pacific