Author Archive




Cecil Frena, a.k.a. Born Gold, just tipped me off to some friends/ fellow Canadians of his that are making music out of Vancouver. He called them “Sweet guys.” Keep that in mind as you press play.

Tearing into some of the most unforgiving hardcore I’ve heard this year, Tempest‘s self-titled album is an exercise in controlled chaos—dangerous pressure that’s been harnessed and alleviated in monitored bursts. Album standout “Shroud” is a prime example of this catch and release. The vocals are violent and snarled at you with a seething, righteous anger while the instrumentation rages in an almost majestic way. And if you’re enjoying that buzz that rattles your teeth, just wait until you hear the rest of the album.

Tempest’s self-titled album is out now and available for free.

Whatever Brains

"Surveillance Bucks Gone Bad"


Well, shucks, it seems that the upcoming Whatever Brains album will also be the band’s last (if their Facebook page is to be believed, that is). And after a string of either untitled or all self-titled albums, ___ LP will cap off the output of one of contemporary punk’s most original and unclassifiable bands.

“Surveillance Bucks Gone Bad” is the second track to surface from ___ LP and it gives Whatever Brains fans exactly what they’ve come to expect from the Raleigh band: weirdness. The six-minute track finds them continuing to tinker with the electronics that they first started employing on last year’s double EP SSR-63/64. and features from Elise Anderson of fellow Sorry State punk band Brain F≠. And for a song that is all about “giving your government money for preventative monitoring,” the track is pretty fun once it finds its groove.

Shout out to whoever at the NSA is currently reading this.

___ LP is out later this fall via Sorry State Records.




SoftSpot have peaked their heads above water following their sophomore album MASS with a standalone single called “Abalone.” And in true SoftSpot form the song was recorded in several different locations, namely an apartment in Bushwick and a walk-in closet in North Carolina.

Just like everything else the band has done thus far, the song has a whispered presence and a gentle touch. And yet for as familiar as it feels, the single is also one of the most fleshed-out ideas they’ve put to record. The full band suits Sarah’s vocals perfectly, elevating everything from the ethereal to the corporeal. “Abalone” is something we can feel and touch as its ectoplasmic strings slide effortlessly through our fingers.


"Vital Signs"


“Vital Signs” off of KANGA‘s upcoming EP Dissonance, lays everything the Los Angeles artist has at her disposal to bare. It’s raw and primal and it means to be.

“When I’m alone I think about this stuff. It peels away my flesh and makes me open up,” she sings. The dark lyrics fit the industrial-leaning darkwave and KANGA stitches everything up nicely with a pulsating beat and a danceable melody. And for as cold and clinical as her music can sometimes be, she leaves room for humanity to peak through the cracks.

Dissonance will be available on October 30th.




Western Massachusetts post-punk trio Longings just released their self-titled debut album a few days ago, and the ringing in my ears has yet to subside. The band has a caustic spin on the genre the skirts closer to the punk line than the post. And for a genre that’s known for its gloom, Longings manage to make things feel even darker than usual. Like they’ve been rubbing elbows with death rock and still have its smell on their clothes.

Lead single “Tarnished” is a pretty fantastic jumping off point if you’re new to the band. It’s acidic and dirty, but it’s also melodic and driving. There’s an air of exhilaration surrounding the music akin to holding a lit match between your fingers. The orange flicker is mesmerizing but the closer it gets to your skin, the more you feel the burn. You just gotta know when to blow out the flame.

Longings is out now via Framework Label.

Mark DuBois

"Circles of Love"


Mark DuBois has a very Tallahassee sound. I haven’t heard a ton of music out of the Tallahassee area—mostly folks like Jake TobinBen Varian, and all of their various projects—but if you ask me, Mark DuBois fits right in there, which makes sense since he also plays drums in Tobin’s live band. Which makes even further sense when you hear his quirky, jazzed-out lounge jams. It seems that whatever is in the water down there, they’re all drinking it.

“Circles of Love”—off of DuBois’ album Grouting—is a bouncy little introduction that immediately warms up to you like that stray cat that won’t seem to leave your stoop. It’s a breezy little ditty whose moving parts are few, though well-oiled. Breezy, yes, which is probably why Mark released the album earlier this spring. Whoops, slept on that one, I guess.

Grouting is available now via his Bandcamp page.


"A Novel Light That Changed"


Momo Ishiguro seemed to come out of nowhere, but her bold pop music makes up for any lost time. “A Novel Light That Changed,” from her upcoming Intl Style EP, skips the formalities altogether as it floats right out of your speakers on a beam of shimmering, R&B-inflected light. Her vocals, which she places front and center, are quite frankly incredible, and the accompanying instrumentation acts as the perfect platform for them to shine on. Something this good and this self-assured shouldn’t stay a secret for long. It can’t.

Intl Style will be out later this year.

Long Beard



“Porch” opens up Long Beard‘s debut album Sleepwalker with a sigh and a strum of loose, jangling chords. It floats along effortlessly while also bearing more substance than its cloudy form would suggest. Leslie Bear sings about time, age, and the ache of unrequited love. A familiar subject to be sure, but in Bear’s hands the sting only lasts as long as it takes for the words to be whispered from her lips. From there the track’s beauty supplants the pain, leaving it the only thing you’ll recall long after the song’s runtime has concluded.

Sleepwalker is out on October 23rd via Team Love Records.

Pleasure Leftists

"You You"


Members of Cleveland post-punk outfit Pleasure Leftists spent time paying their dues in the city’s hardcore scene as part of bands like 9 Shocks Terror and Homostupids. Now they’re chugging along at a different clip, churning out dark, driving punk music with no shortage of power or melody. Vocalist Haley Morris’s deep-throated howl generates a lot of their force, but the rest of the band isn’t skimping here either.

On “You You,” one of two singles from their upcoming album The Woods of Heaven, they flex the muscles they’ve been honing for the last couple of years. It’s a brisk 2+ minutes, but there’s a lot of meat on its bones. There’s plenty enough to take a bite out of—just know that it’ll probably bite you right back.

The Woods of Heaven will be available on August 28th via Deranged Records.