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Showing posts from December, 2019

Wes' Favorite Local Releases of 2019

Following in the vein of Joe's introduction from his list, I embraced the fact that I'm totally still an idiot emo kid at heart. Emo and punk were a part of my formative musical experiences (we don't need to talk about the rest), but I was relatively late to the game with virtually anything other than MCR, Panic, and Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle." As time as gone by, I've allowed myself to be enveloped in the raucous emotions that call the genre home. There won't be a ton of local emo on this list, but that mostly seems to be because a lot of the emo bands I love took the year off. That may totally predict my 2020 year-end list, but in lieu of emo, I found a whole lot of other stuff to fall in love with, from piano ballads to country(!) to whatever the Happy Children are were.

Albums and EPs
(Cover art by Caleb Hinz probably??)
The Happy Children - Same Dif (self-released)
This is unsurprisingly my album of the year. Earlier this year, I was identified a…

Joe's Favorite Local Releases of 2019

2019 has been a year for me to rediscover my love and adoration of all things punk, hardcore, and metal. Now, I wrote about more than just those types of bands this year, so thankfully, my list will be relatively diverse. However, It should be noted that it took at least three revisions until we got to this point, so bear with me. It should also be noted that none of these releases are in any particular order. 
Albums and EPs

Dirty Junk - On Yr Knees (Don't Panic Records & Distro)
Dirty Junk is probably the band that first rekindled my love of punk and hardcore with their 2019 EP, On Yr Knees. Its unbridled energy and unchecked rage was the punch to the stomach needed to start the year off right. The band stretches new songwriting muscles with this EP. Unyielding blastbeats and tremolo-picked guitars give way to twinkling interludes and sludgy breakdowns. Renn Fontana and Ace Robbins use their proclivity toward dissonance and chaotic instrumentals to create an ever-growing sense …

Dad Bod - "Rot" | New Music

(Cover art by Jane Borstad)
There is an extremely potent tenderness in the music Callie Marino makes as Dad Bod. Nearly everything about the band's debut single "Rot" encourages quiet introspection or an overflow of emotion, whether it's Marino's poetry of emptiness, the twinkling guitar lines, or the depth of her voice. It's a secretly electrified fence, dividing you and an unwanted memory. Things pop up in the daily minutiae (checking the fridge, a grocery list on your phone) and serve as ever-present reminders.

The main thing that sets its trajectory slightly off from the Julien Baker-esque ballad it mostly is are the sudden stabs of shoegaze that come in the song's final moments. It never quite reaches the screaming catharsis of a song like "Appointments," but that's because it's not trying to. "Rot" instead lets the noise speak for itself. As Marino sings of hiding and fading away, the waves of squalling guitar speak of rebe…

Floodwater Angel - "Asparagus" | New Music

(Cover art by Aiden Joseph James)
"Vivre loin de vos peurs n'empêche pas vos peurs de vivre avec vous." Living away from your fears does not prevent your fears from living with you. This is definitely not a song about vegetables.

Earlier this year, psychedelic quartet Loneliest Ways put out an EP, Crush. Just about six months later, the band is back with a new sound, a slightly altered lineup, and a new name.

"Asparagus," Floodwater Angel's debut single, starts and mostly stays with one chord. From there, lyrics tumble out of Madeline Knorr's mouth like babbling brook of extremely-online internet-kid anxiety. They maintain rhyme schemes to the point of delightful absurdity as they narrate a sequence of over-the-top escapism. Below is selection of my favorite lines:
"Bootleggin' Broadway / Gonna have a field day""I think I hate the Nazis / 'Cept the ones that are furries""And I'm not thinkin' about climate change / Or…

Partition - "And A Bruise Can Come From Good Times Too" | New Music

Partition is back with the sludgy new single "And A Bruise Can Come From Good Times Too," an almost antithesis to the band's "debut" single released last month.

With its ethereal fuzzed-out guitars and hypnotic drums, bandleader Taylor Nice takes us along as they describe a relationship that soured. Taylor uses the song's title as a lead-in to the chorus where they layout the score. Partition draws heavily on the macabre psychedelic rock of the grunge era. You feel uneasy as "And A Bruise Can Come From Good Times Too" moves seamlessly between its dissonant single-note guitar lines and clattering full band arrangements.

And a Bruise Can Come From Good Times Too by PARTITION

Along with the single, Partition released a lyric video full of startling religious iconography, which is in line with Taylor's personal brand of chaotic irreverence. The video cuts between shots of Taylor bleeding from the nose and religious figures with blood on them. It'…

Wrister - "Flowers on the Fault" | New Music

The year may be close to over and most publications have put out their favorite album lists, but that hasn't stopped Twin Cities bands from sliding in with a few last-minute shredders. This includes the debut single from the trio Wrister, "Flowers on the Fault."

With this track, the band is here to thrash and dash - "Flowers on the Fault" is two minutes and one second of pure jangly punk. Wrister doesn't rely on massive chorus either; instead, they build over a series of verses describing feelings of listlessness which can be summarized by the lyrics "I'm here again in nowhere."

Wrister has partnered with Brace Cove Records to put out this single. You can listen to "Flowers On The Fault" down below.

Flowers On The Fault by Wrister

Laska - "Iris" | New Music

To say Laska is on a roll in 2019 would be an absolute understatement. They put out the EP in the blossom of this in March and have been steadily releasing singles in the fall and winter. With their newest song "Iris," the Morton sisters have slightly broken the folk-rock mold they have built for themselves.

Laska has set themselves apart as experts in channeling feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and acceptance and crafting them into music. "Iris" is no different. Its jazzy piano and percussion blend with subtly picked acoustic guitars and fluttering synths bring a slow life to the single with each verse adding to its themes of healing.

The band also put out a music video for "Iris" that was shot and directed by Keegan Burckhard. The video features the Morton sisters canoeing along a body of water and enjoying the fall - something that I long for in this winter hellscape.

Both the music video and song are out now.

Iris by LASKA

4th Curtis - "Invisible Ax" | EP Review

In early 2017, the trans indie rock trio 4th Curtis put out their debut record I Won the Pageant, an album that veiled its angst and cynicism behind a thin veneer of energetic pop-rock. The band is now back with their follow up, Invisible Ax - an EP that has stripped that facade away, leaving the band's dark sense of humor on full display.

Invisible Ax goes from 1 to 100 right off the bat with the intense imagery contained in the opening track, "Nonstop." Vocalist/guitarist Lex Noens sings about blood on their guitar strings, a theme that continues throughout the song. In the lead up to the EP release, the band referenced a French showman from the 1700s who'd eat anything and everything as an inspiration for this song, and this theme of insatiability compels the band. Historical figures don't seem to influence only "Nonstop," but most (if not all) of the songs on the EP.

The middle two tracks are quite upfront with whom they pull from. "Marie Antoine…