#NewMusicFriday: June 21st 2024

NewMusicFriday june 21st 2024

This week’s #NewMusicFriday is one of those hectic weeks where I didn’t get a chance to listen to all the records I wanted to. Nevertheless, I have put a spotlight on three noteworthy records as The Story So FarAlcest, and The Dangerous Summer deliver new albums.

Elsewhere, earthtone9 strengthens their legacy with ‘In Resonance Nexus’The Used drop a collection of unreleased/b-sides in the form of ‘MEDZ’, and Kittie resurface after 13 years away with ‘Fire’. There is also ‘Stigma’, the new album from Wage War which sees them expand their metalcore sound. The Mysterines‘ second album, ‘Afraid Of Tomorrows’, sees them wrapped up in paranoia-tinged anxiety and addiction, taking the Merseyside rock quartet into darker territory. Whereas Norwich post-hardcore trio Other Half delivers their third album, ‘Dark Ageism’. It sees them dwell and rise in a mix of gloom, spoken word ruminations, and bold hooks.

There is also new music from Newcastle melodic punk newcomers Wild Spelks, London post-hardcore debutants Tether., and Ohio hard rock outfit Along Came a Spider.


The Story So Far
Photo Credit: Eric Soucy

The Story So Far – I Want To Disappear

After 2015’s self-titled effort, The Story So Far made the right decision by taking time with their next record – 2018’s ‘Proper Dose’. The former threatened to take them into formulaic territory. However, its follow-up blended into melancholy pop-rock into TSSF‘s pop-punk fabric. Fast-forward six years, The Story So Far has once again evolved. For starters, founding bassist Kellen Capener departed the band in 2022, being one of several personal and professional changes in the group. For vocalist Parker Cannon, the intervening years saw the passing of his father due to throat cancer.

While his grief threads together this 10-track collection, it far from takes away from the urgency delivered. On here, they rarely pass the three-minute mark, opting to confidently cut off the unnecessary fat. Straight out the gate ‘All This Time’ bursts with vibrancy. Drummer Ryan Torf’s pounding drums roll into Kevin Geyer and Will Levy’s energetic guitars while Cannon reflects on his loss; “Because you said you wanted out, But there’s still so much pain now”. 

Stylistically, The Story So Far has considerably reverted to their former fast-paced, bouncy pop-punk selves. Yet when the likes of ‘Watch You Go’‘Jump The Gun’ and ‘Big Blind’ serve up bold, favourable hooks, you quickly forgive them for taking such a route. Torf’s drum work is well worth a mention, standing out with his earthly drums on ‘Keep You Around’s verses or providing a rugged base on ‘Nothing to Say’. While as a unit,

Lyrically, the youthful angst has been replaced by sincerity, as you’d expect. Throughout Parker reflects on complex relationships, introspection, and the struggle to move on. It’s the latter that he regularly wrestles with. On ‘You’re Still In My Way’, he sings “I just wanna trade you places and take me instead”, as his father’s passing ruminates in his mind. ‘White Shores’ does hint at some form of comfort. The first of a two-part acoustic-heavy finale, Cannon’s words are full of gratitude yet ache with loss. The second is the album’s title track, which hones in on the raw emotion by stripping things back to just plucky acoustics and sombre harmonies.

Even though the welcomed flashes of ‘Proper Dose’s expansive Brit-pop influence are absent here, The Story So Far have mixed their favourable brand of pop-punk with mature songwriting. The end result is the sound of a band reinvigorated, leaning into their strengths and allowing them to confidently explore cathartic songwriting.  ‘I Want To Disappear’ is sure to strengthen The Story So Far‘s lasting impact in pop-punk.

Photo Credit: Andy Julia

Alcest – Les Chants De L’Aurore

For close to 25 years, Alcest‘s founder and multi-instrumentalist Stéphane “Neige” Paut has been delivering genre-defining post-black metal. Along with drummer Jean “Winterhalter” Deflandre, he’s repeatedly blended dark and light sound palettes with stunning execution. Album number seven, ‘Les Chants de l’Aurore’ (‘The Songs of Dawn’), considerably hones in on the lighter side of Alcest.

Neige and Winterhalter conjurer up a stunning and uplifting record that confidently captures the notion of escapism. Tracks such as ‘Komorebi’ and ‘L’Envol’ lean into sweeping post-rock with grace as guitars ring out amongst Winterhalter’s pounding percussion and occasional double bass drum pedalling. The latter’s later moments welcome some guttural screams amongst its cinematic soundscape. It’s a succulent opening pairing that leaves the remainder of ‘Les Chants de l’Aurore’ with a big task to follow.

Nevertheless, the blackgaze-soaked ‘Améthyste’ with its flashes of chaotic drum work, metallic distortion, and black metal screams reaffirms Alcest‘s consistency. Likewise, ‘Flamme Jumell’, serves as the guiding light through ‘Améthyste’s dark tunnel, sounding radiant, blissful, and gigantic in equal measure. It considerably pushes Alcest‘s soaring capabilities as far as possible, aided by laid-back drums and harmonious vocals.

Next up, ‘Réminiscence’ offers a piano-led interlude with Neige’s distant vocals and sweeping strings providing a brief and tranquil moment to Alcest‘s expansive sound. Yet ‘L’Enfant De La Lune’ soon arrives with full force as blast beats awakens the chaos. Shifting with dynamism between fierce black metal and towering post-metal, it’s a riveting example of Alcest‘s ability. All the while wrapping it up a sonically stunning wall of sound.

‘L’Adieu’ (‘The Farewell’) ideally closes the seven-track outing in a pensive fashion. Tender, ringing guitars gently complement Neige’s reflective words, building a well-balanced sense of comfort and finality. Its pace and tone weave with ease, never threatening to break its banks.

As musicians and songwriters, Neige and Winterhalter show they have mastered the wide-scope mix of post-black metal, shoegaze, and post-rock. Throughout ‘Les Chants De L’Aurore’, their pacing and execution are precise, resulting in a captivating record. They never aim to be ambiguous or egotistical in their approach. They simply want to take listeners on a journey.

The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer – Gravity

Despite their various backline changes, two constants have been in The Dangerous Summer‘s career. The first is the presence of vocalist and bassist AJ Perdomo, with him routinely supplying the second; life-affirming emo rock anthems. Now seven albums deep into their existence, ‘Gravity’ is the second record to come from the current incarnation of TDS. It’s completed by guitarist Josh Withenshaw and drummer Christian Zawacki. While the personnel has evolved since their 2009 beloved debut, ‘Reach for the Sun’TDS‘s style has hardly changed.

However, that’s far from a criticism. Perdomo and company display an assured sound that is simply comforting to hear. From the outset, songs such as ‘ I Feel More Like Myself When I’m Losing It’ and ‘Pacific Ocean’ thrive with Perdomo’s distinct vocals and diaristic words, with escalating melodies wrapped around warm instrumentation. It’s a formula that is executed with confidence as ‘Gravity’s plucky title track, and later, ‘Where Did All The Time Go’ shows.

Admittedly, the scope TDS comfortably sits in rarely strays further afield. ‘What’s An Hour Really Worth’ and ‘You’ll See It All Coming’ utilise some slick production, adding to the cinematic shine that The Dangerous Summer is capable of pulling off. ‘Turning Love Into War’ hints there’s some grit underneath their vibrant fingernails. Whereas ‘With My Pen’ sees Perdomo sing about crashing the car to kill the passengers, yet it’s done to enhance the troublesome introspective narrative. He’s never afraid to give an insight into his mindset. Whether that’s cathartic grief on ‘Clouds In My Eyes‘, the familiar trait of escapism (see ‘You’ll See It All Coming’), or chasing highs (‘What’s An Hour Really Worth’). 

Ultimately, ‘Gravity’ falls somewhere between being appreciative and reassuring, and sounding all too familiar. This is partly due to the fact it’s anchored by a tried and tested style of bold alt-rock, yet it’s rarely outstanding. The Dangerous Summer do hit the occasional high here, especially early on. While the style is consistent, the quality isn’t quite on par.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

The Story So Far – I Want To Disappear
Alcest – Les Chants De L’Aurore
The Dangerous Summer – Gravity
Black Veil Brides – Bleeders
earthtone9 – In Resonance Nexus
The Used – Medz
The Mysterines – Afraid of Tomorrows
Kittie – Fire
Thornhill – Live On Tour!
Wage War – Stigma
Other Half – Dark Ageism
Wild Spelks – A House Full Of Strangers
Avril Lavigne – Greatest Hits
Nothing – Auditory Trauma: Nothing Isolation Sessions (Live)
Saosin – Live At The Garden Amphitheater
Within Temptation – Worlds Collide: Live in Amsterdam
Cavalera – Schizophrenia
Sumac – The Healer
Tether – Mirror Work
Foreign Hands – What’s Left Unsaid
Attendant – State Of Disarray
MEST – Youth
Along Came A Spider – The Fall
Battlesnake – The Rise And Demise Of The Motorsteeple
MOUSES – bwywtb
Rendezvous Point – Dream Chaser
Chaser – Small Victories
Anchorage – Uncontrolled
Aphasia – The Sound Of Suffering: Part 1
Chasing Shadows – Reflections
Ground2a – Communication
SoulFang – Passions, Potions, Wicked Lullabies
The Fever Kings – The Fever Kings EP
TALKER – I’m Telling You The Truth
Halfway To Neptune – On These Walls
Sons of Arrakis – Volume II
Stunt Pilots – The Takeoff
Amber – Room For Understand
Sleep In / Glazed – Lickety Split

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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