Red Scare Industries – Release Date: 2/17/17
Despite over five years elapsing since the release of the last album from Nothington, it sounds as though they never missed a beat on their latest full-length, In the End. Oftentimes when a band takes a similar hiatus, their new material sounds forced or like they’re trying to recapture a previous style. Conversely, this record breaks new ground and finds Nothington sounding focused, revitalized and demonstrating a new level of detailed songwriting. A great example of this is “The Lies I Need,” with lyrics that emphasize a strong sense of resolve and a chorus that utilizes both vocalists to create multiple layers of melody. The song also displays restraint in that there are quieter parts, but also times when the band really turns it up and pushes the tempo to accentuate their point. “Burn After Reading” is one of the catchiest entries on the album, complete with introspective lyrics and numerous melodic guitar leads, while “The Hard Way” includes a stirring rhythm and a giant chorus that features each singer exchanging lines. The title track brings the record to a close with personal and reflective lyrics, which underscore a trace of optimism that’s present throughout the album. On In the End, Nothington has crafted a collection of earnest, sing-along anthems that balance melody and aggression. The record is consistent, distinctive and one that makes a familiar and often predictable genre sound revived.
This spring, Airstream Futures will release their debut full-length on Paper + Plastick, called Spirale Infernale. The band combines elements of punk, indie rock and alternative, and features members of The Bomb, The Methadones and Bow & Spear. The album was produced by Rodrigo Palma, (Saves the Day) and Derek Grant, (Alkaline Trio), and recorded/mixed by the band’s guitarist, Jeff Dean. Airstream Futures’ lineup also includes singer Devon Carson, bassist Megan Edgin and drummer Mike Soucy. We’ve got an exclusive premiere of one of the record’s songs below, called “Dreams of Narrow Wings.” When asked to describe the song, Carson said “It started with Mike’s description of a dream where he had wings but they were too narrow to fly. It made us think about all the horrifying things going on in the world and the overwhelming desire to help in some way, but feeling completely overwhelmed and ineffectual. If we can’t even save ourselves in our own dreams, it’s no wonder that putting a hashtag in front of a problem has become our favorite form of activism.” Check out the song now and if possible, catch the band on their upcoming UK tour.
On March 28th, Bagheera released their latest album, Shooting Rockets Towards the Sun, via Skeleton Fur Records. The band’s lineup consists of Theodore Moll, (MU330/Sharkanoid) and Heather Moll, (Climber). Heather plays guitar and bass, while Theodore contributes drums, guitars and keyboards, and both share vocal responsibilities. The album was recorded by the band and mixed/mastered by Lance Reynolds, (Alt-J, Ash). The record draws inspiration from things like astronomy and Roman mythology, yet at the same time addresses personal issues and human emotions as well. Musically speaking, the songs are intricate, layered and recommended for fans of Built to Spill, Rainer Maria and The Breeders.
When asked as to what inspired the album’s title track, Heather said “The idea for the song is that so many people go through life without truly enjoying themselves or taking advantage of the fact that they are on this planet for such a short time. Most people are guilty of moving through life on autopilot, or moving through life looking through a lens of negativity. I am definitely guilty of this, so this song is a realization and a reminder to myself that life is short and that I have to treat it as such.” Theodore elaborated when speaking about how this song in particular relates to the overall theme of the record. He said, “I hadn’t thought about it until recently, but when my dad passed away, we lit off some bottle rockets at the reception after the funeral to give him a good send off. We were essentially shooting rockets towards the sun, in the same spirit as Heather had imagined writing this song. As an aside, as a result of the fireworks we set several of the neighbor’s lawns on fire. I think my dad would have appreciated that. The last song on the record, ‘Departing the Oort Cloud,’ was written after my dad passed and was written for him, and we reused the ‘towards the sun’ lyric.”
Take a listen to the song “Shooting Rockets Towards the Sun” below and order the record here.
This Saturday, April 8th, CHIRP Radio will host its 15th annual record fair at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Hall, from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The expansive fair will offer vinyl, CDs, posters and books, as well as food, beverages, DJs and more. CHIRP DJs will spin music throughout the event and live acoustic performances will be held downstairs. Tickets are $7, with all proceeds going to CHIRP, while early admission tickets are $25 and allow for re-entry. Tickets will be available at the door, but can also be purchased here.
Album art by Francisco Ramirez at Bureau of Print Research and Design
On April 28th, War Brides will release their latest full-length via Triple Eye Industries, called Regrets. The album was engineered by Greg Norman, (Pelican, Russian Circles, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters) at Electrical Audio in Chicago and features nine songs in total. Regrets represents some of the band’s fastest material to date, highlighting carefully-crafted hooks that underline elements of punk and hardcore. The record will be available on clear vinyl with white splatter, opaque green or standard black vinyl. Check out an exclusive stream of the song “Designer Life” below and pre-order Regrets here.
The Menzingers at Metro in Chicago
Last month, The Menzingers headlined a sold-out show at the Metro, playing in support of their recently released album, After the Party. Much like the record itself, the band displayed signs of maturation throughout their set, playing to the crowd and delivering numerous fan-favorites with ease. They opened with “Tellin’ Lies,” the leadoff track from their latest full-length and quickly segued into their 2014 hit, “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore.” They then proceeded to play four songs from their breakout record On the Impossible Past, with “Good Things” receiving the largest crowd response. From there, they reached back to 2010 and performed “Time Tables,” elevating the amount of audience participation to another level. Additional highlights included “Rodent,” “The Obituaries” and two of the best songs off After the Party, “Midwestern States” and “Your Wild Years.” The band left the stage briefly after playing nearly 20 songs and returned for a rousing, three-song encore, consisting of “Lookers,” “Casey” and “In Remission.” In short, The Menzingers delivered an impressive and comprehensive set, leaving fans thoroughly satisfied and already anticipating the next time they roll through town. Be sure to check out their recent national television debut on Last Call with Carson Daly here.
Photo by Katie Hovland at Riot Fest, Chicago
Last month, Meat Wave released their second full-length for Side One Dummy, called The Incessant. Recorded by engineer Steve Albini, the album finds the band refining their take on unabashed, hook-heavy post-punk. We spoke with singer/guitarist Chris Sutter about the record’s lyrics, many of which address themes like confrontation and accountability, yet there’s also a sense of dark humor that’s discreetly built-in. Additionally, we talked about the album’s writing process, what it was like working with Albini, their upcoming European tour and more. The band’s lineup is solidified by bassist Joe Gac and drummer Ryan Wizniak, and don’t forget to check out their video for “Run You Out” after the interview. Click here to view…
After completing a recent West Coast tour, we caught up with Split Single to discuss their latest album, Metal Frames. We spoke with singer/guitarist Jason Narducy about how the record was written and recorded, as well as the meaning behind its title. We also talked about the contributions of drummer Jon Wurster, (Superchunk) and bassist John Stirratt, (Wilco) and how their involvement helped to shape the album’s sound. The end result could likely be described as carefully crafted power-pop meets melodic rock, with an underlying sense of rawness and urgency. Be sure to catch Split Single when they play Schubas on Saturday, April 22nd and check out their video for “Untry Love” after the interview. Click here to view…
Pure Noise Records – Release Date: 2/03/17
Making their Pure Noise Records debut, Less Than Jake recently issued a seven-song EP entitled Sound the Alarm. Recorded by singer/bassist Roger Lima at his own studio and mixed by Jason Livermore at The Blasting Room, these songs sound exceptional and allow for the individual instruments to really shine through at the appropriate times. Additionally, this record signifies the most spirited that the band has sounded in over a decade, which is especially impressive considering they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. The EP gets underway with “Call to Arms,” a track that evokes memories of fan-favorite album Borders & Boundaries and employs a bouncy chorus that’s peppered with horns and an array of backing vocals. It’s followed by “Whatever the Weather,” a mid-tempo, ska-leaning number that features prominent horn lines and a resilient message, (“It’s out of my hands, these too heavy times/No matter the weather, I’ll never waiver”). “Welcome to My Life” is a laidback ska tune with introspective lyrics that recalls their 2003 hit “The Science of Selling Yourself Short,” while “Good Sign” is a fast-paced, upbeat punk entry that talks about embracing optimism. The EP fittingly concludes with “Things Change,” a track that highlights some of their top characteristics: high-flying horn parts, the alternating vocal talents of Lima and singer/guitarist Chris DeMakes, and the sturdy rhythms of drummer Vinnie Fiorello. Sound the Alarm is recommended for those in search of a quality ska/punk fix and will likely leave fans anxiously anticipating their next full-length.
Epitaph – Release Date: 2/03/17
Earlier this month, The Menzingers released their fifth album, marking their most mature and detailed collection of songs yet. As the record’s title implies, most of its songs talk about growing older, with some looking in the review and others focused on moving forward. Either way, this album’s lyrics clearly represent the band’s strongest to date. Similarly, the songwriting has also noticeably elevated, which makes sense given that it’s been three years since the release of their last full-length. “Thick as Thieves” is the first notable entry, with its crafty lyrics, (“I held up a liquor store/Demanding top-shelf metaphors”) and massive-sounding guitars, courtesy of producer Will Yip. “Lookers” is up next and it’s one of the catchiest songs they’ve ever written, complete with melodic guitar leads, Kerouac references and a healthy dose of nostalgia. “Midwestern States” addresses topical issues and describes a young couple trying to make it, (“We both got worthless diplomas from worthless universities/Two bachelors in worthless studies, but at least it made our parents happy”). “Your Wild Years” reminisces about a past love and enjoys arguably the record’s most memorable hook, while the title track appropriately includes all of the band’s best attributes, (descriptive lyrics, raw emotion and a fist-pumping, shout-along chorus). With After the Party, The Menzingers have managed to mature stylishly and not lose sight of what made them so appealing to begin with. It’s their most complete record so far and one that simply demonstrates a band in top form.
Album artwork by Aertime
Today, Post Child will release their second album, called Wax Wings. It was recorded by Joe Gac, (Meat Wave) and is available courtesy of In the Lake Records. The band’s lineup is comprised of singer Bryan Alvarez, guitarist Jared Olson, bassist Justin Gutierrez and drummer Mustafa Daka. Post Child’s members have also lent their talents to bands such as Elephant Gun, High Priests and The Brokedowns. Tonight, they’ll celebrate the record’s release with a free show at Emporium Arcade that also features Closed Mouths and Sonny Falls. Check out a stream of the full album below and for those attending the show, be sure to grab Wax Wings on limited edition cassette, (50 black and 50 pink).
Photo by Katie Hovland
Last month, Dead To Me played Double Door and we caught up with the band at a nearby coffee shop before the show. We spoke with singer/bassist Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico, guitarist/singer Jack Dalyrmple and drummer Ian Anderson. Guitarist Ken Yamazaki was also present, but did not take part in the interview. We talked about the band’s latest 7” for Fat Wreck Chords, I Wanna Die in Los Angeles, including how it was written and the motivation behind its title. We also discussed Annicharico’s newfound sobriety, Dalyrmple’s return to the band, where they’re at with recording their next full-length and more. Click here to view…