Now that we have wrapped up our retrospectives on 2015 we can really begin to turn our focus towards everything 2016 has to offer. I’ve made a lot of resolutions for myself this year, ranging from the usual “get in shape” goals to some loftier creative pursuits. One of my resolutions is to keep my eyes peeled wider for new and more esoteric bands. It took a little digging and a lot of sampling but before too long I’ve already found a handful of releases from just this first week of the new year. So, here are a couple solid short releases to get your New Year rolling.
.gif from god – 2016 Winter Tour Tape
Excuse me, it’s pronounced “Jod.” Bad jokes aside, this weird little tape caught me entirely off guard, despite the fact that I had only recently been wondering when this style of Metalcore would resurface. .gif from god say they “want to play breakdowns” but there is a lot more here than the simple down-tuned chug pattern explorations that certain over-hyped nu-metalcore bands have released. This mysterious Richmond group have turned out a couple songs that meld elements from a variety of noisey, chaotic “Mathcore” sounds from the mid-to-late-00s. If you liked Daughters, The Chariot and maybe even The Number 12 Looks Like You then this is for you, but don’t worry, it’s not just a simple regurgitation of long digested swoop-hair, white-belt shenanigans reiterated for pure nostalgia. If it were up to me this would be just the beginning of a new chance to explore a sound that was shuffled out in favor of pig-noise bands in 07-08.
Bad Friends – Demo
Bad Friends are a new group out of Durham, North Carolina, that within one click I realized I had some slight connection to. The band self-describes themselves as queer, southern, heavy and loud. “Tanbark Ridge” opens up this solid demo with pained reflections from vocalist Molly centered thematically in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Knowing the place the title refers to and having my own difficult departure from that area forms an immediate bond for me to this band but the rest of this demo reinforces my interest. For a demo it sounds more assured than the demos of more experienced bands and if the recording quality were just a little better, I would chalk this up as something more official. Get into this if you want sludgey neo-crust with an emotive voice.
Dad Thighs – The Past Three Years split w/ Karate Kids
Our last two entries here come in the form of two sides of a split. First up is this new band from Vancouver with a funny name and a sound that rides the line between joyful poppy indie and fragile emotions. I had mixed feelings about this record but it has grown on me. That’s the benefit of releasing new music early in the year, someone like me who is eager to find new music and put the past year behind them is more willing to see experimentation through for the payoff. This record starts off sounding more like a Dream Pop band with a jagged emotional edge that is reinforced by “Weekend Girl” with it’s spoken word entry, chords ringing out through tremolo before an incredible acceleration into Embrace style Revival Summer emo; seriously, listen to that lead! “Left My Heart in Langley” does an almost 180 into a solid Pop Punk jam that reminds me a great deal of the greatly missed Big Kids with gruff male vocals that works around the emotive core and grungy overarching sound of the band. This is must hear music for 2016.
Karate Kids – Split w/ Dad Thighs
I thought there was no way the previous band on this split could be topped. I figured, at best, this francophone band–also from British Columbia–would turn in something passable but not inspire much of a reaction. I won’t encourage unnecessary competition between bands by ranking the sides of this split, so I will say that Karate Kids managed to surprise me a little more. Both bands on this split are almost cut from the same cloth, but they stitch together such different patterns that you can’t help but be surprised. My initial reaction chalked the band up to a French singing counterpart to the reverb-soaked, rock’n’roll punk sound of Restorations but other elements started to unfold with nods to European Screamo. I re-evaluated and started to draw comparisons to Baton Rouge, the post-Daitro post-Screamo post-punk band, yet there’s a steady current of Midwest Emo and I don’t think the name alone hinted at influences from the band Karate. The closer on this split however, breaks all notions I had built up over the last few minutes as the music shifts into hyper-drive and soars into dark, creeping Space Rock akin to U.S. Christmas.