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Weekly Roundup: April 24th
Featuring Johnny Booth, Spiritbox, Better Lovers, and more.
A curated selection of cool shit for you to listen to.
Never Ending Game – “Tank on E”
Heavy hardcore outfit Never Ending Game certainly look like a bunch of dudes from Detriot that you don’t wanna fuck with, and the music they play very much matches that aesthetic of steel-eyed menace. However, this is what makes the most recent single from their forthcoming record, Outcry, out May 12th through Triple B Records, so interesting. As frontman Mikey Petroski explains, the track was inspired “by an overheard story of a guy who just got out of the pen trying to get their life on track…The guy’s trying not to fall back into his old ways and is begging for a little more time to make good on his second chance.” Watch the powerful video for “Tank on E” below:
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Heavenward – Pyrophonics
On his upcoming album, Pyrophonics, out June 16th through Fever Ltd., Heavenward is wrestling with his demons. “The album is about my personal acknowledgement of my personal struggles,” says Kamtin Mohager (The Chain Gang of 1974, ex-Teenage Wrist). “In a not-so-healthy way, accepting the darkness within and continuing to live your life. Possibly even embracing them.” Mohager wrote and performed nearly the entirety of the album himself, pulling together ten songs that blend alt-rock soundscapes with shoegaze and dark pop influences. Stream the LP’s pre-release singles here (Bandcamp/Spotify).
Spiritbox – “The Void”
Longtime readers will know that I’ve been a Spiritbox evangelist for several years now. After 2021’s exceptional debut LP, Eternal Blue, and last year’s Rotoscope EP, it seems that the heavy music dominators are finally gearing up for a new album cycle. Their latest single is already a fixture of their live set (with a number of shitty versions floating around YouTube for months), and it showcases the quartet’s delicate melodic sensibilities with intricate layering, ambient guitar sections, and an irresistible chorus hook from frontwoman Courtney LaPlante. In a word, it’s transcendent. Listen to “The Void” here.
Pink Mexico – “Shame”
Noisey once referred to Pink Mexico, the project of multi-instrumentalist Robert Preston Collum, as “like if Nirvana had had a surf rock phase.” As intriguing as that sonic hypothetical may be, Collum’s fifth album feels more straightforward to me: a dark and heady mix of fuzzed-out shoegaze introspection and breezy, carefree indie rock. Mirrorhead, Collum’s debut for Californian label Quiet Panic, due out on May 19th, was produced, recorded, engineered and mixed by Jeremy Scott and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins). Stream the album’s pre-release singles here (Bandcamp/Spotify).
Johnny Booth – “Collapse in the Key of Fireworks”
Much like Spiritbox above, I’ve also been raving about the destructive pedigree of Johnny Booth for what feels like forever. The Long Island quintet continue to be one of the most slept-on bands in heavy music; however, I’m firm in my belief that their forthcoming LP, Moments Elsewhere, will be the release to change their fortune for the better. The album’s lead single is as crushing as it is subversive: a complex metalcore rager overflowing with filthy bottom-end rumble and progressive heel turns. Yet again, the group prove that they’re capable of pushing sonic boundaries and trying new things. Don’t sleep on this one. Listen to the “Collapse in the Key of Fireworks” here.
Cinema Stare – The Things I Don't Need
With blink-182 reuniting and putting some respectability back into the pop-punk game, now’s a perfect time to strike while the iron is hot. While Connecticut outfit Cinema Stare are a relatively new band on my radar, what little I’ve heard so far speaks to the pop-punk ethos: passionate, powerful delivery that also leans into the fun and whimsical aspects of a frequently maligned subgenre. The group’s debut album, The Things I Don’t Need, is set for release on May 19th through Static Era Records. Stream the album’s pre-release singles here (Spotify).
Better Lovers – “30 Under 13”
What happens when career band dudes who’re currently in supergroups decide to form yet another supergroup? The answer, dear reader, is Better Lovers. With one of the most gloriously overpowered lineups in heavy music—former Every Time I Die members Jordan Buckley, Clayton “Goose” Holyoak, and Stephen Micciche on guitar, drums and bass, respectively; master producer and engineer Will Putney of Fit For An Autopsy and END on axe duties; the indomitable Greg Puciato on vocals, best known for The Dillinger Escape Plan, Killer Be Killed, The Black Queen, and more—this group will absolutely be one to watch. Their debut single is a blistering, four-minute cavalcade of dissonant guitar riffs, thrashy licks, and southern-rock swagger. Check out the video for “30 Under 13” below:
Entrapment – The Grief Cycle
We last heard from Entrapment in January following the release of their Tempers Flare EP. Now the Southport bruisers are back with a new hard-hitting four-track titled The Grief Cycle, out now through the good folks over at Team Glasses Records. To my ear, this EP further develops their pile-on-worthy, mid-2000s hardcore stylings—think The Rival Mob, Kids Like Us, and others of that ilk—with chest-pounding double kick, lethal divebombs, and kick-a-brain mosh parts. It’s deadly shit—don’t sleep. Stream the EP in full here (Bandcamp/Spotify).
Listen to all these tracks and more on the TPD 2023 CUTS playlist, updated weekly.
A closer, more in-depth look at a new record that ticks all my boxes.
Enter Shikari – A Kiss for the Whole World
I’ll be completely honest here. I’ve never really been a huge Enter Shikari fan. I enjoyed their debut record, and I played the hit “Sorry You’re Not A Winner” to death as an alternative club DJ in the late 2000s. But everything else since then has largely gone ignored by me for no other reason than casual indifference.
However, that all changed with the release of 2020’s Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible. I found the sixth album from the St Albans quartet to be a jubilant and triumphant statement of intent, and it was enough to make me curious about how their follow-up record would go. Well, with a years-long pandemic in between LPs, it turns out that the band’s seventh, A Kiss for the Whole World, functions as both a reset and renewal for their rave-punk designs.
Aside from the record’s pre-release singles, I find myself gravitating to the Side B deep cuts like the infectious “Jailbreak” and energetic penultimate closer “Giant Pacific Octopus (i don’t know you anymore)”. As NME’sput it in her review: “Here, on their seventh album and two decades down the line, Enter Shikari sound perhaps the most joyful they’ve ever been, and even when they become characteristically philosophical, it still comes from a place of positivity.”
Stream here: Spotify
With his new LP, An Underlying Hum, dropping at the end of the month, industrial heavy-hitter King Yosef joined The Pitch pod last week to chat through his eclectic Hit List: a collection of songs that speak to the sonic themes and personification of his latest record, including bulldozer death metal, outlaw country, warped instrumentals, and mind-melting post-hardcore. It’s a great episode and one of my favourites. Check it out below:
Additionally, outside of my freelance music industry shenanigans, I’ll be running two free online lectures next month on 2018’s Annihilation as part of my independent scholarly work, discussing how Alex Garland’s film adaptation:
“speaks directly to humanity’s fears of the natural world through themes of bereavement, trauma and transformation, juxtaposing hallucinatory images of human-animal chimeras and killer flora with the alien motivations of a nonhuman otherness.”
The lectures are part of the event calendar for Romancing the Gothic: a collection of “free-to-access classes, workshops and book clubs on anything Gothic, Romantic, Horror or adjacent.” Come along! It’ll be fun—trust me.