Dikembe are an anomaly of a band from Gainesville, Florida. They do everything on their own terms from handling all their band business, to recording, to touring whilst all living hours apart from each other. It's this attitude that drives them to make music that's honest, personal and truly a reflection of themselves.
A lot can happen in five years--and Dowsing has been through a lot. The band returns focused on rebuilding and refining their craft, and further developing the charm and emotion behind their earlier works. Dowsing continues to shine through with their third full length and Asian Man Records debut; an album that comes from all the darkest places, an album without a name to capture it.
With an already impressive and vast catalogue for their listeners to revisit, Dowsing has re-emerged with a new lineup and ample time to write a proper follow up to their sophomore LP, I Don't Even Care Anymore. Forging a new path for themselves, Dowsing stays on the road consistently, playing over 100 shows across the United States and abroad in less than a year.
In April 2015, Dowsing’s current lineup Erik Hunter Czaja (Vocals/Guitar), Michael Crotty (Guitar/Vocals), Michael Politowicz (Bass/Vocals), and William Lange (Drums/Vocals), entered Noisy Little Critter Studios in Downingtown, PA with Mike Bardzik (Spraynard, Sundials, Everyone Everywhere). The result is 10 tracks about the turmoil created by events of revenge, betrayal, loss, and hope.
In 2016 everything is going to be okay.
Mitch Welling performs as flatsound—but it’s more like a transfiguration than a stage name. Welling’s art moves from the whispered nook of lo-fi field notes to the anxious bombast of richer angles on home-recorded indie rock while dipping between media and moments. Entirely self-sustaining and home-recorded, Mitch’s art is both timely and ahead of its time, with more to uncover than at first blush.
There’s a utopian dreaminess to the Gothenburg music scene in Sweden that typically trickles down even to the punk acts. But even in paradise, apparently someone’s gotta make copies and take out the trash, and that’s where I Love Your Lifestyle comes in. On The Movie, they sound like they’ve come out swinging from a south Philly basement only to slump back after yet another soul-sucking day at work. They make commiseration rock, proceeding from the understanding that the depression borne from a shitty job and an utter lack of romantic prospects is universal.
Their 2016 debut We Go Way Back made them one of the leading figures of the international wing of the ongoing emo revival—bands for whom Algernon Cadwallader and Glocca Morra are primary sources, as opposed to Cap’n Jazz. It’s heartening to see the remarkable digital footprint of bands that never got much notice in their prime, as kids from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and Russia wear the same dad hats and shorts, singing about convenience stores while playing tapping solos in odd time signatures as if they were from any suburb in Middle America. In so doing, they avail themselves of the scene’s welcoming leniency, which explains how a math-rock band named Chinese Football is actually opening for the real thing instead of getting mocked or sued out of existence.
Having mastered 2008 simulacra, ILYL have advanced to something genuinely exciting on its own terms—a combustible flashpoint where emo’s unhinged rhythms meets indie-pop song forms. “Failing again, so many failures in a row,” Lukas Feurst sings on the album’s very first line, and the verse on “Imagination Station” ends right there. Really, what else is there to say? Why bother waiting to get to the chorus, especially when it’s specifically about being tired of waiting for something to change? “Adrenaline Rush to Kill My Crush” takes a similarly oblong approach to pop structure, hinting at a version of “Friday I’m in Love,” where no one ever gets past hump day.
- Ian Cohen // Pitchfork
It may have only been two years since Atlanta’s Microwave released its debut record Stovall, but much has changed in that short amount of time. While the exuberance and joy of Stovall dealt with vocalist/guitarist Nathan Hardy’s wide-eyed wonder at a world previously obscured by a strict religious upbringing and his time as a Mormon missionary – songs of innocence, if you will – Much Love details the aftermath once that awestruck amazement has been dampened by the harsh realities of life.
These, then, are songs of experience, the sound of growing pains, with the emphasis very much on the pain, on the trials and tribulations that come after the euphoria of freedom. That’s not to say that first album was devoid of drama, because it was full of it, but the ten tracks that make up Much Love certainly traverse darker, more unstable territory by confronting the very existence and notion of life as Hardy once knew it.
“Thematically,” says Hardy, “this record is about questioning things you’ve been taught your whole life about how the world is. I grew up really religious and at one point I found for myself that I didn’t identify with that anymore. And then I started to realize that other things, like the idea of love and monogamous relationships, were also in that same vein of stuff that I’d been taught when I was younger that were just what you’re supposed to do.”
“All these things I’d been taught going to church six days a week or through watching Disney movies that reinforced the idea of finding someone and living happily ever after, I was beginning to understand weren’t universal truths after all.” He pauses. “And that, overall, made me realize there’s not an inherent meaning to life and I more or less had to build a new foundation for my life.”
Given the heavy emotional, philosophical and existential weight behind these songs, it’s no surprise that the band – completed by guitarist/vocalist Wesley Swanson, bassist Tyler Hill and drummer Timothy ‘Tito’ Pittard – found themselves writing music to suit this shift of tone and perspective. The result is that tracks like “Roaches” and “Busy” glisten with a more jagged and acerbic edge, one that’s rough and unsteady but nonetheless still full of the melodic sensibilities that defined that first record. Elsewhere, “Lighterless” is a scuzzy, grunge-pop gem, “Vomit” is a restless, jittery ball of nerves and anxiety, while “Whimper” is sultry, sleazy and almost bluesy.
Recorded and produced, like Stovall, by Travis Hill, Much Love is a more abrasive, rawer set of songs than its predecessor, more The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me than Deja Entendu. Yes, Microwave are very much still recognizable as the same band, but at the same time these songs are a conscious evolution of their sound.
“Musically,” Hardy explains, “we tried to branch out more and experiment with other sorts of tones and vibes for songs. So overall it was very much an experimental endeavor recording it. But we’ve also spent more time playing together and we’ve developed more of a personality – we realized we all like to make weird noises with our instruments and we hadn’t really incorporated that in the past. We’d fuck around during practice and make weird stuff, but it was only with this new stuff that we thought we should mess around and make noises until we find really cool ones and actually use those in the recordings.”
It all makes for an intense and cohesive representation of life that encompasses both base human behavior and emotions – sex, drugs, alcohol, jealousy, promiscuity, to name a few – as well as those more existential and philosophical elements that lie just below the surface of those actions. It’s an album that wrestles with the meaninglessness of existence and which tries – sometimes successfully, sometimes futilely – to find meaning in that vacuum of insignificance and emptiness. In that sense, Much Love is very much a coming-of-age album, but it’s most definitely not of the saccharine, indie flick variety. And while this record is centered around a very specific and unique set of circumstances, these are universal songs that have a profound and powerful impact, regardless of your own personal situation.
Old Gray is a four-piece band based out of the southern New Hampshire area. Since forming in April 2011, the band has seen numerous changes, both in terms of their members and their musical style. Their lyrics are introspective and personal, often dealing with the ideas of love, loss, and isolation, while their music draws elements from a wide array of genres, most notably post-rock and post-hardcore. As of April 2014, they have released an LP, two EPs, six splits, a b-side, a single, and a demo.
There's a certain science when it comes to writing music that can evoke a sing-it-loud response from more than a few subsets of people, and Rozwell Kid might as well have their PhD. The West Virginian quartet has been proudly playing dials-to-ten indie alt-rock since 2011’s matter-of-factly titled The Rozwell Kid LP. Their new LP Too Shabby shows off Rozwell Kid’s progression as musicians that haven’t lost any of their quirky charm...or volume.
Too Shabby was engineered by Justin Francis at Ronnie’s Place in Nashville in early 2014. By the time its 10 songs have concluded, it’s obvious that Rozwell Kid have sharpened from their last release – an EP entitled Dreamboats – while somehow getting louder. With lyrics like those in the record’s opener, Kangaroo Pocket, (“Simpsons season 3 and a thing of hummus / This is all I need / I'm like super low maintenance”) Rozwell Kid find a paradoxical marriage between originality and familiarity. Too Shabby is proof that Jordan Hudkins, Adam L. Meisterhans, Devin Donnelly and Sean Hallock have emerged as a more cohesive, brave, and intelligent unit.
“I don’t want to be in an emo band anymore,” proclaims Sorority Noise frontman Cameron Boucher. “But I have no problem with people calling us that, because in the strictest of senses, we are an emotionally driven band.”
That, is Sorority Noise in a nutshell: part of a movement, but also discrete and determined to break free from the pack. Truth be told, the Connecticut-based quartet — Boucher, guitarist/vocalist Adam “Scuff” Ackerman, bassist/vocalist Ryan McKenna and drummer Charlie Singer — have always operated a little differently than most of their peers.
For starters, Boucher attends the University of Hartford for jazz saxophone and music production, while guitarist Ackerman studies acoustic and upright bass. But it’s not just their unorthodox musical chops that set the band apart in the underground punk scene. With the release of their Topshelf Records debut, Joy, Departed, Sorority Noise—recently named one of the 100 Bands You Need to Know in 2015 by Alternative Press—are poised to break out in a big way.
Brother Bear changed their name to State Faults in late 2011 and signed with Tiny Engines. Their debut, full-length, Desolate Peaks, was released in May of 2012 on Tiny Engines. . The band would issue their sophomore record, Resonate/Desperate, on No Sleep in 2013. State Faults are currently writing for their next release.
Suis La Lune are one of those screamo bands from abroad that are so good, you associate them with the likes of Raein, La Quiete or DaÏtro. The thing is, they’re not from Italy. They’ve actually been kicking it since 2005 around Sweden, more specifically in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Even so, they’ve played more than 80% of their shows outside of the country, spending their time instead on a handful of tours in the UK and the east coast (the boys have a sweet spot for Baltimore). Their discography swelled as a result and includes: several tour 7”s, splits, a self-titled release as well as Quiet, Pull the Strings! LP and 2008’s Heir.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die are an atmospheric emo / indie rock band from Willimantic, CT. The band was formed in 2009 and has undergone several lineup changes since its inception. TWIABP’s now 8 piece lineup writes the songs collaboratively and often on-the-spot with vocal duties shared by 5 members. The band’s sound is easily compared to second wave post-emo indie rock bands of the late 90s and early 2000s and their atmospheric moments are often tagged as “post-rock.” The band creates their dense textured sound with multi-layered and heavily effected guitars as well as synthesizer, strings, and trumpet.
Tiny Moving Parts are in many ways a family band. Founded by guitarist Dylan Matheisen and his cousins Matthew and Billy Chevalier (who are brothers), the group have been playing music together for the past 10 years. On their latest effort, This Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship, they have honed their sound - combining mathy indie tunes with influences like Taking Back Sunday, The Promise Ring and more.
Virginia Beach’s Turnover has never been a band afraid of telling the truth. The emotional honesty poured out over a number of anthemic releases has been a proven formula of success for the band, but on their sophomore LP Peripheral Vision, the band treads into deeper water. Working again with Magnolia producer Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive), Turnover’s latest record shows a band maturing to create their best effort: an ethereal, reverb-drenched soundscape blending elements of hazy dream pop and the delicate emo rock of yesteryear. Songs like “Hello Euphoria” and “Like Slow Disappearing” highlight the new calmer, more subdued approach to songwriting, matched by Austin Getz’s somber, confessional lyrics that echo throughout songs as if his words were haunting every measure. Peripheral Vision solidifies the idea that Turnover is a band with its finger on the pulse of its generation: growing and learning with every release, but never failing to provide a relatable, cathartic experience for anyone listening.