Doc Browne – Mixtape Vol. 1
Tracks: All. Can’t go wrong here.
Boom-bap like it’s supposed to be. So consistent it’s ridiculous.
You Blew It – Keep Doing What You’re Doing
Tracks: All solid, no real standouts.
Slouchy emo with a nice punch they didn’t display on previous material.
Gameday Regulars – Nobody Likes A Quitter
Tracks: “Kids of the Cove” gets it started nicely.
Think Fuel For The Hate Game-era Hot Water Music and you’ve got a good starting point. Grows on me more with every listen.
Paranom & Purpose – Life Outside The Frame
Tracks: “Days Go By” (video), “I Remember”
This Purpose dude keeps producing some of the best Golden Era sounds of the new millennium. Paranom provides the thoughtful lyrics to triumphantly accompany the soundscapes.
Bluebird – Giraffidae
Tracks: All solid, no standouts.
Somewhere in (90’s) Emo County between the cities of This Town Needs Guns and Mineral with yelpy vocals.
Sport - Bon Voyage
Tracks: “Reggie Lewis”, “Florence Griffith-Joyner”, “Ulrike Maier”, “Doris Sams”, and motherfucking “Jacques Mayol”, my song of the year so far.
Generally faster emo-punk showing influence by practically all of my favorite late 90’s & early 00’s bands like Braid, Latterman, Hot Water Music, & Small Brown Bike. GREAT fucking energy, man. Parts also remind of the Algernon Cadwallader style.
In Between – Still
Tracks: All solid, no standouts
More gravelly, beardy post-hardcore/punk-rock/emo. Some parts are awesome but some are head scratchers. Overall it evens out, making this a band to keep an eye/ear on.
Big Awesome – Better Than Numbers
Tracks: “Pay Attention” & “Chariots”
This was released in 2011 before Birdfeeder, which was my #2 EP of 2013 (but came out in 2012). It’s similar to that in the emo-rock vein but is not quite as fun of a listen. Still worth a free download, ya dummies.
9th Wonder – Jamla Is The Squad
Tracks: None stand out. Watch out for landmines.
There are plenty of solid tracks here (way more than expected) but also a few total shit piles. Definitely worth checking out. Stay away from tracks 3, 8, 11, & 18 if you know what’s good for you.
Confidence presents G.Dot & Born featuring EdO. G.
Tracks: “Grammers Strong” (sigh), “Manhunt”, “It’s Real”, “Class Is In Session”, & “Confidence”
This fucker is STACKED with awesome production thanks to Confidence. Between him, Purpose, and Doc Browne, my ears think it’s 1994 and I’m watching Yo! MTV Raps (but with no fucking E-40 videos). This album leans more in a direction akin to Group Home’s Livin’ Proof where the production is light years ahead of the lyrics in most parts, but GOD DAMN are these some tasty beats. The videos look like they might be awful though (I didn't dare watch because I love this so much), so be careful not to ruin a good thing.
Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth – The Living Daylights
Tracks: No real standouts but many really good tracks, a couple OK ones and no landmines
It’s really fucking cool to finally see Grand Rapids a.k.a. Gun Rule a.k.a. G-Rap represented so well when it comes to hip-hop. Bronze’s soulful samples are the perfect backdrop I’ve been for Willie to bless. He’s not my favorite MC ever or anything (although he can certainly wipe the floor with older brother La The Darkman in present day), but he gets the job done. The video for “The Guilt” is worth your time.
Such Gold – 2 split 7”s
Tracks: Both are solid
These two tracks are going to please their existing fans as they generally give you what you need/expect from SG, although “Choosing Cages” is one of the most angular things they’ve done yet and even contains a guitar solo that adds a new twist. Also worthy of note here is the Wax Packs deal that the Placeholder split is a part of. The label got a whole bunch of bands to do split 7”s, made a few different colors of each split (with varying degrees of rarity), and is selling them in packs, like sports cards. So you buy a pack and have no idea which records you’ll get or which variant it will be. Cool idea that I wish I had more disposable funds to take part in.
Somos – Temple Of Plenty
Tracks: “Domestic”, “Dead Wrong”, & “Distorted Vision”
I hate this album for what it’s not, and at the same time I’m growing to love it for what it is. Make no mistake, the loss of energy and balls compared to their demo is quite disappointing. However, when examined completely on its own, this is an example of yet another young band coalescing a wide range of my favorite sounds of the last 20 years into a very cohesive record that brings to mind Alkaline Trio, Park, Name Taken, Jimmy Eat World, Texas Is The Reason, The Swellers, Balance & Composure, and Moving Mountains (Waves era). Thankfully the rhythm section maintains some groove and urgency even if the overall feel of the music isn't as crunchy. It also strikes me as a sound that could’ve been the bridge between Transit’s Keep This To Yourself and the third of Listen & Forgive that I enjoy. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on my year-end list because I can’t imagine this baby not being in the top 5.
Prawn – 2 splits
The first is a split 12” with two track from 4 bands. The second is a split 7” with slow-emo purveyors Joie De Vivre, who are worth checking out even if they don’t entirely float my boat. All four of these Prawn tracks are on the mellower, more straight-ahead side of their emo/indie rock sound, so they’re not my favorites of theirs but are still worthy additions to the catalog.
Thanks for reading! See you in July.