The Long Dark Road may have too much shoegaze in it to satisfy traditional metal fans, but has enough merit to attract newcomers as well as those searching for something a little weightier than normal.
In many regards, California Torpedo sounds like a debut album. It’s the work of a band that is still searching for its footing, but it’s also a work of unquestionable merit when the pieces fall perfectly into place.
Their third and most recent album, Famous Monsters essentially follows the pattern of the previous two, but it finds a band at their peak, and if not, at least very close to it.
Listen to any song from White Oak & Kerosene, and you can immediately sense the dirt caked on Allen’s hands, and the cheap, hard-earned whiskey on his breath.
Singer Bonomo’s vocals have a timeless soulful quality; not designed to stun with prowess, but commune with an introspective intimacy rare today.
On their fourth full-length album, there’s no big shake ups in terms of style, but rather the band continues to explore the darkest corners of their own trademarked sound and expand the fullness of its production.
On their debut EP, Ocean Blues, this band from Bristol, UK manages to combine the sunniest of vocal harmonies with the gloomiest of Gothic melodies.
Music Under Sea has neither an entire foot in the music of the 60s or the pop today it inspired, but will nevertheless have fans who love either.
On his debut album, Too Close to the Noise Floor, released last year, Antony Walker effortlessly combines the weirdness and constancy of The Pixies with the larger-than-life pop of XTC.
Alien Angel Super Death doesn’t willingly give away much at first, but it generously rewards listeners who readily approach it with complete emergence.
King Ropes, an indie garage band from Bozeman, Montana, effortlessly couples the inventiveness of The Pixies and the alternative country twang of Wilco with remarkable results.
For a set of solo recordings, it certainly doesn’t play like the work of one individual, and indeed the studio polish gives it a lush, full-bodied feel to the record that only aids Olshefski’s keen pop instincts.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking or innovative on this record, Saul Losada erects the foundations on Energy to set himself firmly in the lineage of blues rock’s most individual guitarists.
Thirsty Hearts is an incredibly relevant and powerful record that speaks directly to the uncertain and transitory impasse in which we are currently living in.
A Little More Country just might be the perfect Christmas gift for the country fan longing for traditional Americana and country that doesn’t entirely sacrifice a modern sensibility.
While Taberner doesn’t as of yet have the most original of voices, it’s clear from the off that Fallen contains all of the makings for one, and all that remains to be seen is where he goes from here.
Dino Jag is a musician who has clearly cracked the code for pop songwriting, and he winningly replicates this formula six times over the course of the simply enjoyable Breakthrough EP.
Purposely recorded with limited technology, Rerun is as warm and tender as it is personal and intimate from a musician with an immediately identifiable voice deserving to be heard.
A concept like this is a heavy one to cover, and by no means easy, but Saint Blasphemer tackles the job with deftness and heart on Simon Templar.
Fallen Asunder occasionally gets lost in trying to sound too much like its influences, but it nevertheless remains a promising debut from a band who have clearly put everything into it.
The Grand Trine isn’t a perfectly cohesive effort, but it’s the sound of a band tightening up considerably since their formation, and truly beginning to find their own voice.
Raised and formed in Atwater Village, Southern California, the five members of Wicklow Atwater have all been friends since childhood, resulting in a long-standing bond and natural chemistry rare for musical acts.
Inspired in part by the Coen brothers’ film, Fargo, Minnesota is a moody post-punk vision of the coldest and bleakest reaches of America.
Bastion of the Los Angeles pop scene, David Steinhart, is back once again with his band The Furious Seasons, but this time jumping head first into a new style for the first time.
Although One Track Mind hails from Norway, their sound actually sounds more like it comes from the suburbs of California or the housing projects of Scotland.
Self-described as having “a punk rock core made accessible with doo-wop inspired vocal lines,” and “a Billy Joel-approved lyricism…” it’s clear the band are comfortable with stretching the genre to its breaking point.
Saskatoon party favorites have been pushing their unapologetic, if controversial, brand of raw garage punk since 1998, and their latest album, Get Off Easy, is no exception to the rule.
Shake It On Down_ rises above the majority of hard rock that deals solely with partying by deftly acknowledging the shadows of life it’s running from.
Night and Day is the result of a band finding their voice, flexing their muscles, and the statement of two musicians learning to deal triumphantly with changes.
A stunning debut, The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A. has all of the possibilities within it to make Logan Metz one of America’s next great troubadours.
London’s The Survival Code straddle the fine, and some would say, oft indistinguishable line between alt rock and punk, much in line with some of their influences like Deftones and Queens of the Stone Age.
Thugs They Look Like Angels is due out October 16th, and is an album that is as comfortably footed in the recent past as it is the present, thriving in both equally.
The album is obviously influenced by shoegaze acts like Low and Sonic Youth, but there’s also a more melancholic gothic element that imbues songs with a Joy Division dirge-like quality.
Although it can be seen as a soundtrack to Chameleon Technology’s live show, Blank Canvas proves to be just as worthy to listeners for its own merits alone.
The democracy and runtime of this album needn’t necessarily have been set to 11, but Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is nevertheless high on concept, ideas, and, overall, execution.
Salt Lake City’s The Departure have attempted a daring feat—bridging the gap between pop punk and prog rock—on their new fittingly-titled EP, Gateways.
I Never Arrived is a misleading title, because if anything it finds Chandler truly coming into his own on what is undoubtedly his finest and most mature work yet.
It’s obviously an extremely heartfelt roller coaster ride and the honesty communicated make FACES one of the year’s more compelling records.
Like the sprouting tree on its cover, Live and Let Go is the product of a musician growing and inviting an audience to join him along the way, making for at once both a captivating and openly honest work of art.
Over the course of twenty songs, Pretty Sweet Stuff offers a glimpse at the sizable and impressive body of work from a musician whose heart is worn on his sleeve at all times.
Come to the Edge finds Tumbler more assured and confident than ever; it also happens to contain some of their best songs yet
Jane in Space, out August 19th on Aion Records, is a record that has been carefully crafted with a sharp attention to detail and the instincts to execute their vision flawlessly.
Influenced by 90’s alternative, singer Sarah Pech’s intimate, breathy vocals call to mind Aimee Mann or Kim Deal, and the grungey guitars and fuzzy basslines are reminiscent of The Breeders as well.
Influenced by the theatrics and atypical dynamics of Kate Bush, My Unwinding State feels like a set of compositions just dying for choreography.
A Temporary Human Existence_ is an album that occasionally struggles and fails to find its footing, but it also shows a band with a lot more to show and an identity that will only solidify with further releases.
Given its occasional schizophrenic nature, it’s possible this could have worked better as a long-ish EP, but the album nevertheless remains the product of a lot of forward trajectory from a still young band.
A shocking amount of ideas and themes are tackled over the course of a very short EP that undoubtedly leave the listener with even more questions about Native Ground then before.
Joys and Horrors is the natural and perfect continuation of the themes and moods first put forth by Joy Division in the late ’70s.
Eric Anders is a singer/songwriter from the Bay Area, who has been releasing consistently compelling and ethereal music since the turn of the century.