#NewMusicFriday (July 21st 2023)

This week’s #NewMusicFriday is an eclectic mix of releases.

First of all, Yellowcard return with a si year hiatus with ‘Childhood Eyes’. There are also albums from several burgeoning British bands; As December Falls,  Saint Agnes, and James and the Cold Gun. While Bloc Party follow up their run earlier this year opening for Paramore with a new EP, and “Britpop” icons Blur reconvene for their first full-length album since 2015.

If you’re looking for some revivalist rock, then Greta Van Fleet‘s third outing will surely fill that spot. For the instrumental prog connoisseurs, Bristol instrumental post-math rockers Maebe is sure to meet your guitar wizardly needs.

When it comes to metal releases, you can check new music from Teeth, SOiLJohnny BoothVoivod, and Salem Trials.

Yellowcard 2023
Photo Credit: Acacia Evans

Yellowcard – Childhood Eyes

Six years on from calling it a day, and having made a fleeting return to the UK this past May to mark 20 years of ‘Ocean Avenue’Yellowcard are now looking forward. ‘Childhood Eyes’ sees the quartet return with good intentions while never shredding the traits that have made them so beloved.

At their core, the five songs on offer are emotionally open-hearted with pulsating and anthemic execution. Straight away ‘Three Minutes More‘ (with a guest spot from Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil) and its title track serve a punchy pair of catchy pop-rock. The former thrives with a pounding tempo and some intricate guitar work. Whereas the latter firmly fits the Yellowcard template, but you won’t hear me complaining.

‘Hiding in the Light’ is carried with an edge due to its sturdy bass line and muted guitars, while Sean Mackin’s violin adds a succulent quality to the track. Whereas ‘Honest from the Jump’ allows Ryan Key’s vocals to truly shine with an abundance of soaring lines. It’s backed by a sonic tone that makes the track sound even bigger, which truly pays off in its conclusion.

With the help of Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), ‘The Places We’ll Go’  ends the EP on a sombre and reflective note. Drenched in lyrical optimism, it sees Key and Carrabba question what could have been while realising how quickly time flies. Conducted with heart-wrenching tenderness, it’s a sober but fitting finale.

Although ‘Childhood Eyes’ has a tendency to lean on tried-and-tested traits of Yellowcard‘s past, it still makes for a welcomed return. Four of the five songs are boldly delivered with urgency, played by a band reinvigorated and excited to play together again. ‘Childhood Eyes’ is sure to excite and entertain longtime fans, while also being a reminder of their melodic prowess to casual listeners.

As December Falls
Photo Credit: Jay Sanderson

As December Falls – Join The Club

For close to a decade, Nottingham’s As December Falls have been riding the independent wave, gradually making a name for themselves in the UK and Europe.  In recent years, that rise has gone into overdrive with various, noteworthy festival spots and more recently, winning the ‘Best UK Breakthrough Artist’ award at the Heavy Music Awards. Now they’re unleashing their third full-length – ‘Join The Club’.

On the surface, As December Falls do the usual sugary pop-rock/pop-punk thing with precision. The hooks are catchy and Bethany Hunter has a distinctive and fitting voice. Tracks like ‘Carousel’, ‘Mayday’, and ‘Little by Little’ are insanely addictive, thriving with plenty of energy. Elsewhere, ‘I Can’t Sleep’ shows ADF‘s ability to inject some rock-laden edge to their hooks, mainly thanks to Timmy Francis’ heavy guitar.

One issue that As December Falls (and bands of their kind) fall into is an inability to produce a consistent set of songs that offer depth. Songs such as ‘Alive’ and ‘Go Away’ do thrive and keep the momentum going yet are easily forgettable. ‘Leave’ manages to put things back on track with strong guitar work before ‘Tear It Out’ delivers one final punchy, energetic blast. While ‘Home’ ticks off the expected acoustic ballad box with ease.

For a band that has seemingly been doing it their way and succeeding, ‘Join The Club’ isn’t quite the breakthrough As December Falls may be hoping for. At first, it’s a brash set of catchy pop-rock but on further inspection, it comes off as formulaic, even at times, bloated. Undoubtedly, there is potential for ADF to prove me wrong and continue to their rise, as there certainly is a market that will eat up what ‘Join The Club’ has to offer.

Photo Credit: Scott Chalmers

Saint Agnes – Bloodsuckers

Having joined the ranks of Spinefarm Records (Atreyu, Black Veil Brides, Sleep Token, Creeper), ferocious four-piece Saint Agnes are back with their second full-length. Titled ‘Bloodsuckers’, it sees the East London group in a confrontational mood, especially frontwoman Kitty A. Austen. Over the course of its 11 tracks, Bloodsuckers’ takes in elements of punk, metal, grunge, and industry.

Early on Kitty sings and snarls, leaving a strong impression. From the roaring punk stomp of ‘Bloodsuckers’, the buzzy ‘Animal’ (even with its pig noises) and the heavy groove-laden ‘I Mean Nothing To You‘, Saint Agness quickly set the standard high. ‘Outsider’ serves its purpose as being a rallying call for the unwanted, with a Rage Against The Machine-esque guitar solo thrown in.

Then ‘This Is Not The End’ stops you in your tracks. It’s a raw, confessional number that strips back Saint Agnes‘ brand of chaos to the bare bones, allowing Austen to reflect on the sudden passing of her mother. Likewise, the sludgy ‘At War With Myself’ echoes the trend that Kitty and company prosper when they reign things in.

For the most part, the remainder of ‘Bloodsuckers’ is packed with high-octane numbers that neatly weave in various styles. ‘Middle Finger’ twists and turns with thick chords before ‘Body Bag’ pulls in Mimi Barks for a quick trap-infused, metallic blast. It ends with ‘Forever and Ever’; its bleak ska-like pacing, dark, reverbing drums, and scratchy guitars create a stirring and haunting finale.

While acts such as Nova Twins, Wargasmand Vukovi have shown to be equally dynamic, in Austen, Saint Agnes have a magnetic vocalist who displays plenty of attitude and emotion. Even though it might not be enough to stand out from the pack, ‘Bloodsuckers’ is a noteworthy step in the right direction.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

Yellowcard – Childhood Eyes
As December Falls – Join The Club
Bloc Party – The High Life
Blur – The Ballad Of Darren
Greta Van Fleet – Starcatcher
Saint Agnes – Bloodsuckers
James and the Cold Gun – James and the Cold Gun
The Criticals – Front Door Confrontations
Maebe – Rebirth. Relive. Repeat.
Johnny Booth – Moments Elsewhere
SOiL – Restoration
Teeth – A Biblical Worship Of Violence
Voivod – Morgöth Tales
Oxbow – Love’s Holiday
Izzy Mahoubi – How To Run EP
Forlorn – Sæl
Rezz – It’s Not a Phase
Salem Trials – Nocturnal Creation
Somnuri – Desiderium
July Crowd – Seat of Your Pants
Baby Got Back Talk – Wince, Repeat
Little Falls Trophy – Dutch Motel

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