For the past six years New Jersey’s own Francie Moon has been standing proudly in a class all their own. Led by Melissa Lucciola, their mix of soul, folk, country twang, garage punk, and psych pop is brilliantly unique, bolstered by the undeniable strength of Lucciola’s vocal howls and melodic swells.
New Paltz’s Chris Sunshine make that good mopey slacker rock, the kind that’s engaging and detached, similar to bands like Peaer and LVL UP before them. Set to release their fourth release of 2019, the young band are churning out syrupy rockers that stick like glue as they blend dreamy melodies with a fair bit of shoegaze.
Led by Joseph Farago, the queer pop band started playing together in 2016, and has since expanded into a quartet to bring to life the unabashedly pop-centric songs. Dealing with the anxieties of being queer, Joey Nebulous use sparkling lo-fi and what they describe as “Nintendo-inspired synth melodies” to capture both love and heartbreak.
Following Big Ups’ hiatus and Lal’s move to Oakland, he’s set to release his debut solo album, Gardening, on September 27th via Never Content. After years of noisy output, Gardening, much like the album’s title, is a calming effort, an ambient record built on a backlog of tranquil ideas, field recordings, and gorgeous textural synths.
Oakland’s Half Stack find that perfect space between the alt(ernative) and country in “alt-country.” While the band are a decent way from the South, their dusty twang and down-home hooks feel natural, authentic, and easily settled. There’s no tension, just open sky and big melodic relaxation, the type that never feels stagnant.
Woongi’s video for their single “Antiques” starts off on a good foot and then just keeps getting progressively more fun until it’s thrilling (yet casual) finale. It’s a real cinematic experience of the highest variety, kinda like Repo Men condensed into three minutes… with more dancing. Okay, it’s not really like Repo Men, but both are excellent.
“Self-Love” is a warped pop exportation accompanied by a drifting, playful video. In Clay’s words: “This exercise was a great learning experience for me as I began to understand pop production, sound design, composition, & songwriting on a fundamental level, taking the genre's various elements & altering them to fit within my own style.”
It may be a stretch to call much of anything that Sweet Williams do to be joyous, the tonality of this one is definitely more upbeat than their formula often allows. The guitars are still layered thick and with that kind of distortion that removes rust from scrapyards, each stretched progression and melodic vocal line pulled just shy of warping.
“Suspicion,” the album’s centerpiece already had a cinematic quality of sorts, but their new video takes the song’s warped twang and runs with it. Shot on a farm in rural Pennsylvania with director Ben Hammock, the band play a gang of cowboys just moseying about, with one cowboy’s mind fixated on past memories.
The moody trio make something akin to doom-punk: sprawling, commanding vocals glide over a thick swamp of locked-down low end and fried-out fuzz, climbing and falling in headbang-worthy spurts. If “Sucker” is any indication of what’s to come, their new album, Hell Was Full So We Came Back, promises to be a worthy follow-up.
“Monkey Bowling” is a dense and fun song packed with tons of sounds that mesh to create a charmingly catchy tune. Lyrically, the song is a collection of distended and surreal moments. There's enough pop sensibility here to leave you humming, and just enough lyrically to make you want to piece together the story being told.
The Richmond, VA based post-punk band are creating a dark mix of punk that draws elements from the raw burn of The Wipers to the shadowy romanticism of The Cure. Their sound is definitely informed by 80’s post-punk and it’s many shapes, but the quartet are re-purposing their influences into their own.
The melodies are big and memorable, sounding something like Elliott Smith writing Weezer songs, every hook hitting just between sugary exuberance and self-reflective introspection. The band self-released their latest album, I Never Said I Didn’t Care, a fully realized LP that hangs heavy on the blistering anthems.
Set to release Looming, their first new full length in four years on September 27th via their new home at Dirtnap Records (Marked Men, Proud Parents, Dusk), the duo have expanded into a trio, but their psych pop induced garage fuzz remains quintessentially their own. It’s fun. It’s dirty. It rattles the brain with a sugary glory.
Disorientation seems to be the key for Brooklyn’s ESSi, the duo comprised of Jessica Ackerley and former Yvette drummer Rick Daniel. Set to release their full length debut, Vital Creatures, on October 4th with Ramp Local, their sound is mechanical and alien, an experimental post-punk dive in the dark shadows of the future.
“Rist” is built on a repetitive bass loop, one that has the band claiming the song is “the closest we’ve gotten to dance music,” though we’re not talking pop here. It’s a sordid and dark track, that builds with occasional stabs of guitar and melody, mostly careening with a mechanical grind and outstretched feedback.
Set to release their debut album, Carnage Hall, on September 27th via Upset The Rhythm, its a gloriously kaleidoscope dose of post-punk and psych explorations. The entire thing feels like its covered in a hyper-glow, the detached skronks and spirals of the sextet sounding minimal in essence while there’s a lot going on in actuality.