#NewMusicFriday: April 26th 2024

#NewMusicFriday April 26th

Another week has come to an end, and with it comes another barrage of fresh album and EP releases. This week’s #NewMusicFriday contains a lengthy list of releases, and while on paper there isn’t much to shout about, you’ll be wrong.

For starters, both Creeper and Manchester Orchestra have surprised us with new releases. Creeper have treated fans to a special edition of last October’s excellent ‘Sanguivore’ record. While Manchester Orchestra celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘COPE’ with a full live rendition of the album.

When it comes to original material, there is plenty to choose from. Microwave make their long-awaited return with ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’, and they’re not the only ones making returns. The likes of Cold Years, Alien Ant Farm, Accept, Full Of Hell, and emo punks Grumpster also deliver new records.

On the homefront, Brighton-based newcomers Belmondo mark their arrival with ‘The Blessed and The Evil’. The same can be said for fellow Brightonians fakeyourdeath. The electronic post-hardcore duo release ‘null/void.’ Whereas Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard vocalist Jessica Ball experiments with dreampop, shoegaze and electronica on her new solo project – ‘EYE’.

While further afield, there are releases from Hungarian post-hardcore vets The Idoru, Finnish metallers My Favourite Nemesis, and Chinese progressive metal band OU (pronunciation: “O”).


Microwave – Let’s Start Degeneracy

It’s been far too long since we got an album out of Microwave, five years to be exact. Nevertheless, a steady stream of singles has given way to their fourth album – ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’. There’s always been a lot to like about the Atlanta emo-rockers, even if they’re self-aware of the genre label they’ve been lumped in. ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ aims to evolve Microwave‘s pallet. From the outset, they take steps to evolve.

‘Portals’, a daring reimagining of a classic Christian hymn is paired with ‘Ferrari’. Together they provide a timid introduction that blossoms with every track. The latter shimmers with subtle swells and delicate harmonies, before heading off into the distance as ‘Circling The Drain’s strumming guitars ease in. Here Nathan Hardy’s sultry, pensive tone momentarily crescendos into the familiar alt-rock blast. Collectively, the opening handful of tracks sees Hardy, along with drummer Timothy “Tito” Pittard, and bassist/vocalist Tyler Hill, in a philosophical mood.

Yet, as exemplified by the irresistibly catchy ‘Bored of Being Sad’Microwave have embraced a carefree approach, both musically and lyrically. While the latter highlights their proven knack for writing pop-punk-leaning bangers, ‘Straw Hat’ rides on acoustic strums and woozy harmonies as Hardy sings of having no shame, fear, or guilt. ‘Omni’ sees Hardy question “What’s it like to be a martyr?”, backed by Hill’s pulsating bass groove and complemented with summery shine. ‘Strangers’ ruminates with hushed confusion and plucky instrumentation.

Stylistically, ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ isn’t straightforward, taking you on a lucid, yet breezy, journey of twists and turns. The rigid title track maintains Microwave‘s reliance on groove and mixes it with experimental drones. Whereas the closing couplet of ‘Concertito in G Major,’ a compelling piano interlude and ‘Huperzine Dreams’ takes you on a hedonistic descent. The final track is delivered with an air of content as glistening piano keys and an R’n’B beat support Hardy’s words of acceptance; “What if everything’s as perfect as we suspected it would be?”

Overall, ‘Let’s Start Degeneracy’ is an intriguing album. Despite its 30-minute run time, it’s a record that requires patience to truly understand the lyrical nuance of Hardy. Influenced by hallucinogenic experiences, it allows him to create a freeing narrative, reflecting on “woe is me” culture (‘Bored of Being Sad’), his religious upbringing, and finding some form of comfort in this confusing world.

Cold Years
Photo Credit: Nicole Mago

Cold Years – A Different Life

Three albums deep into a career that always has had potential at its core, Cold Years‘ latest offering sees the Scottish quartet at their most anthemic. With a blend of radiantly optimistic hooks and occasional introverted moments, they have considerably gone all out on ‘A Different Life’ to deliver a rock record.

Early tracks such as ‘Over’ and ‘Radio’ are quick to live up to expectations, proving to be brash and executed with a heartfelt punk spirit. The former opens in a rush before frontman Ross Gordan sings of removing a toxic friend, backed by “woah” harmonies and punchy percussion. The latter, along with ‘Choke’, sees bassist Louis Craighead and new drummer Jimmy Taylor deliver a Green Day-esque rhythmic rumble against Finlay Urquhart’s firey guitar. Likewise, ‘Roll With It’ thrives with a stirring guitar solo as Cold Years soak up the perseverance and determination of being in a rock band in a celebratory manner.

Despite their consistent amount of releases, Cold Years still has some nagging tendencies. Undoubtedly they have nailed the ability to deliver massive, infectious hooks, yet the comparisons to heartland rockers The Gaslight Anthem still rear their head on ‘Youth’. Equally, ‘Goodbye My Friend’ beds itself into stirring introspective rock, despite it offering a change in pace to the rapid demeanour of ‘A Different Life’ opening handful of tracks.

Thankfully, the second half of the album offers more variation. Gordan’s ode to his significant over, ‘Fuck The  Weather’, embraces a doo-wop ’50’s sway with a hint of Weezer in the guitar solo. ‘Other Side’ comfortably fits the routine acoustic number hole.

‘Sick’ starts in a promising manner with piano and strings leaning into a grand tone. Its slow-burning build equally charms and frustrates. It’s great that Cold Years have taken a chance to deliver a song that grows layer-by-layer, allowing you, the listener, to hone in on the insomnia-affected words of Gordan. Yet once it reaches its peak, the track somewhat outstays its welcome.

For Cold Years, it’s clear they’re good at what they do; delivering authentic songs that deal with personal and relatable issues. Whether that’s political discontent of ‘Choke’ or simply leaving your hometown on ‘Radio’ , they consistently do it with conviction. There’s never been an ounce of Cold Years “phoning it in”, especially on these 12 songs. However, while ‘A Different Life’ is Cold Years being their best, you can’t but feel there is little room to elevate them past the status of “hidden gems”, questionably destined to be good but not great.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

Microwave – Let’s Start Degeneracy
Creeper – Sanguivore (Special Edition)
Black Veil Brides – Bleeder
Alien Ant Farm – ~mAntras~
Empire State Bastard – The Silver Cord Sessions
Bears In Trees – How To Build An Ocean: Instructions
Cold Years – A Different Life
ACCEPT – Humanoid
Full Of Hell – Coagulated Bliss
Belmondo – The Blessed and The Evil
Iron & Wine – Light Verse
St. Vincent – All Born Screaming
Grumpster – Grumpster
The Idoru – Undertow
My Favourite Nemesis – We Annihilate I EP
EYE – Dark Light
Trashed Ambulance – Trashed At The Vat
OU – 蘇醒II: Frailty
Ida Kudo – Proud
Left Circles – Nothing Is One Thing
fakeyourdeath – null/void
Anyala – For Death And Eternity
Awake Again – A Promise Of Better Days
Boys Of Fall – Boys Of Fall
Charlatan – Kill
ClearxCut – Age Of Grief
Diamond Construct – Angel Killer Zero
Glaring Orchid – I Hope You’re Okay
Going Off – Die Fast
In Search Of Sun – Lemon Amigos
Joyer – Night Songs
Klonns – Heaven
Lift The Curse – Overtake
Lost In Exile – Deathbed Dreamer
Sleave – How To Get Over
Under Exile – Wandering Through The Doors Of Death
With Sails Ahead – Infinite Void

If you think I’ve missed something or have a new album/EP/song to tell us about, let us know about it here.

If you’re looking for the latest tracks focusing on rock, punk, hardcore, metal, emo, and everything in between, then check out our ‘Newish Music’ playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.


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