REVIEW: Perennial – “The Symmetry Of Autumn Leaves”

ptsoal

Perennial released their first EP back in 2015. Early Sounds For Night Owls was a quick four song record that I still don’t think got the attention it deserved. It had all the heart and intensity that you would want from a record, especially in a genre as driven as post-hardcore. It’s essential listening. Especially if you want to understand the artistic side of underground music. But that’s 2015, and it’s now two years later. Where do we stand?

The Symmetry Of Autumn Leaves is the new record, and it’s probably my favorite record of 2017 so far. I mean that with no hyperbole. Perennial have raised the bar. The Symmetry Of Autumn Leaves fucking goes. It’s one of those records where you can tell what songs are going to absolutely wreck the place live. “La Fugue Pour Béton brut” is definitely one of them. I feel like “Evergreen, un deux trois,” “Resolver,” and “Hippolyta” are definitely contenders too. Those songs are quick bursts of aggressive energy. Shit, the whole record is.

The evolution of Perennial’s sound is key to what makes everything work. First, the increased vocal presence of Chelsey Hahn adds a lot of depth. The way her vocals work with Chad Jewett’s is one of the many standouts on the records. Those two were the heart of Lion Cub, so it’s no surprise that they work so well together. To that point, the increased presence of the keyboards and sampling also change the dynamic a lot. That texture existed on Early Sounds For Night Owls, but that record still felt more guitar driven. The song that best shows that shift is “La Fugue Pour Béton brut.” That song appeared on the EP in 2015, and a reworked version shows up here. It’s the best.

The Symmetry Of Autumn Leaves is an amazing record from start to finish. It’s a perfect mix of art school punk and post-hardcore. The energy, the passion, everything.

Perennial
Howling Frequency Records
Bandcamp
Buy It

Song Of The Week (7/21/17) // Night Talks – “In Dreams”

Night Talks – “In Dreams”

From the inbox:

“In Dreams” is also the new single by alt-rock band Night Talks. They’re from Los Angeles, born and raised, and they define their own sound as pretty lush, equal parts heavy and delicate. Regarding this song, front-woman Soraya said: “”In Dreams” is about having a terrible day and then realizing that you can, indeed, move past it. Everyone deals with really awful things in their lives, and we wanted this song to remind people that more often than not, you can move on and try to enjoy what life has to offer you. It just takes time.”

Night Talks is a pretty solid indie / alt rock band out of Los Angeles. “In Dreams,” the title track from their full length, is definitely one of the more mellow cuts from the record. It’s the closing track, so it makes sense. The full record is pretty solid. It’s on Spotify and Soundcloud, give it a listen

The email letting me know about this song had a gif of a dog rolling itself up in a blanket (like a burrito!). So, y’know, that was also pretty dope.

Night Talks
Soundcloud

 

Song Of The Week (7/14/17) // Western Divide – “The Reprise”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Western Divide – “The Reprise”

Western Divide is a great sounding punk rock band from California. They’ve got a sound that intersects with various flavors of the genre. There’s some Americana type stuff (think Gaslight Anthem et al.). There’s some indie rock moves in there too. It’s tied together with some vocals that come straight out of hardcore. It’s an interesting sound that the band does well.

“The Reprise” is a gruff, driving punk rock song with a great melodic heart. The song is about the moment when good parts of a new relationship finally overtake the bad feelings left over from an old one. Anyway, this video was released about a month ago. I move at the speed of “fuck, you’re just covering this now?”, so here it I guess.

Western Divide’s debut EP, Fall in Love to This, is out next week. The record is solid as fuck. Make sure to check it out.

Western Divide
Soundcloud

 

REVIEW: Moral Straightjacket – “I’ll Be Your Rainbow”

msjibyr

Moral Straightjacket are a two piece band from Irvine, California. They’ve been steadily releasing records for a few years now, and their new EP is a great addition to that discography. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is a stellar three song primer of what this band can do.

Moral Straightjacket are primarily a “post-” band. The mix of post-hardcore and post-punk gives the band a bigger sound than duos usually have. The songs are primarily built around guitar and drum, but they don’t sound limited in scope or nature. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is a great example of a band doing a lot with a little.

The vocal duties on this record are split. One track for each member, and one featuring guest vocals from M. Blue Wizards (vocals by John) and Blood Orange (vocals by Lucas) provide bookends. The vocals are what really make this band stand out to me. John has a very standard voice in genre terms, and Lucas sings in a baritone voice that still isn’t very common in genre music (or rock music in general).

The three songs cover a lot of ground musically. “Blue Wizards” opens the EP, and it fucking goes. It has a very Repeater-era Fugazi vibe to it. “Evergreen” has a much more mellow vibe. M’s vocals hold court on this one, and goddamn does she sound good. The acoustic driven “Blood Orange” calms things down even more as a closer.

Moral Straightjacket has been around for a minute now, and they’ve got a really strong discography. There is no reason not to check this out. I’ll Be Your Rainbow is probably one of my favorite post- records so far this year. And, seriously, “Blue Wizards” fucking goes.

Moral Straightjacket
Ruined Smile Records
Bandcamp
Buy It

 

Song Of The Week (6/30/17) // Basement Revolver – “Tree Trunks”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Basement Revolver – “Tree Trunks”

From the inbox:

“‘Tree Trunks’ was written when I started experiencing panic attacks for the first time, and my increasing need to find a professional who could help me to find better ways to cope. It also tries to mirror how I imagine the environment feels sometimes – and how the environment is tied to many people’s mental health. I was very fortunate to find the help that I needed and I would encourage everyone to go after the mental health resources that are available to them.”

Look, Basement Revolver is the kind of band I’ll always be into. I’m a sucker indie rock that is fuzzy, melodic, and maybe a bit drone-y. It’s one of my favorite things. I’m excited for the record. Their new EP, Agatha, drops on July 21.

Basement Revolver
Yellow K Records (US)
Fear Of Missing Out Records (UK)

 

Song Of The Week (6/23/17) // Man, Woman, Friend, Computer – “Exordium/Outgrown”

I primarily focus on full records, but there are great singles and videos floating around. Here is a thing you should listen to.

Man, Woman, Friend, Computer – “Exordium/Outgrown”

From the inbox:

The film is set to the first and final tracks of Man, Woman, Friend, Computer’s debut album, with a newly-composed interlude between the tracks that connects the songs — both musically and narratively — into a cohesive score.

Titled “Exordium/Outgrown,” the film tells the story of a spaceman who comes to terms with isolation and loss as he cares for an injured alien creature. It combines centuries-old Czech marionette techniques with modern materials and found objects, creating an analog reimagining of the space age that points to the the loneliness of the digital world, and to the new distances we create as we try to conquer the old.

The video was made by Yuliya Tsukerman, who is currently an artist-in-residence at Mana Contemporary (BSMT). It’s a great piece of handmade marionette work that was created over the span of four months.

The two songs featured are from Thomas Echols, an Austin based musician performing under the name Man, Woman, Friend, Computer. His full length came out back in December. It’s well worth a listen.

Yuliya Tsukerman
Man, Woman, Friend, Computer

REVIEW: Football, etc. – “Corner”

fecornerlp

It’s kind of hard to write about Football, etc. at this point. I been writing about them for about as long as I’ve been running this blog. I first talked about them when I wrote up their First Down EP. I also covered their previous two full lengths (The Draft and Audible), their Disappear EP, and their split with Plaids. There isn’t much to say about them that I haven’t already said sometime in the last six years.

Football, etc is one of my favorite bands to have come out of that late 2000s emo scene. They were right there at the start of the emo revival (or whatever), and they’ve outlived many of their peers. In fact, Football, etc. are one of the bands I most associate with the current genre. They’ve put out consistently great records. They do that second wave emo sound better than most current bands going. They are a torchbearer. Corner is another example of all that.

Their third full length, and first on Community Records, is a distillation of the growth the band has experienced. While the songwriting and vocal performance from Lindsay Minton is still the goddamn show, it has become more and more about how the trio works together. Allowing certain pop influences to shine through have made the rhythm section of Mercy Harper and Daniel Hawkins an unstoppable force. “Foul” and “Nutmeg” are perfect examples of how the band can absolutely fucking go. Minton’s guitar is still out there twinkling, but things really pop when she gets some distortion going. Her vocal delivery sounds as strong as ever. There is a much more dynamic range than on records past. A song like “Space” wouldn’t​ be horribly out of place on a record like The Draft or Audible, but it certainly would be the outlier.

Corner is the sound of a band that has matured beyond being a “genre band.” You can still call them emo, and you’d be right. Football, etc. are much more than that though, and it’s great to see that they’re still growing.

Football, etc.
Bandcamp
Community Records (USA)
Barely Regal (UK)
Stiff Slack (JPN)