#NewMusicFriday (May 12th 2023)

This week’s roundup of #NewMusicFriday album and EP releases is led by The Amity Affliction who are returning with their eighth album – ‘Not Without My Ghosts’. It’s just one of several heavy releases today with The Acacia Strain (who are releasing two albums), Veil Of Maya, Devildriver, and masked newcomers Swollen Teeth among those with new material out there.

If you’re looking for a dynamic set of emotional pop-punk songs, then ‘Why Would I Watch’, the third album from Hot Mulligan, will certainly fulfil that void.

As for up-and-coming names, happydaze, and girlfriends are bands to take note of. You can read more about both of them below.

As for other newcomers, Tokky Horror serve up an intriguing brand of jungle-infused punk. While CRASHFACE injects electronica into their adrenaline-fuelled brand of punk.

Elsewhere, Dropkick Murphys deliver another collection of Woody Gutherie-penned acoustic songs, Never Ending Game provide some classic slammin’ hardcore, The Rocket Summer returns with a vibrant alt-pop record (‘ShadowKasters’) and Teri Gender Bender showcases retrospective nativity on ‘Catspeak’.

You can listen to them all below or over on Apple Music.

The Amity Affliction 2023

The Amity Affliction – Not Without My Ghosts

Aussie metalcore heavyweights The Amity Affliction are now eight albums deep into a career that has occasionally diverted off the tried and tested formula. Nevertheless, at their core TAA are still a force to be reckoned with.

‘Not Without My Ghosts’ is The Amity Affliction at their most ferocious. Ablazed with scorching riffs, breakdowns, blast beats and deafening screams from Joel Birch, it sees the quartet thrive in a heavy metalcore skin while maintaining an emotional core. Take the recent single, ‘It’s Hell Down Here’ for example. While Birch and drummer Jon Longobardi bring brutality in the verse, Ahren Stringer’s serves up a soaring, memorable hook in its chorus, amplifying the theme of morality.

Although TAA have a tendency to utilise clean melodic hooks (see ‘God’s Voice’ and ‘Close To Me’), tracks such as ‘I See Dead People’ (featuring late New Zeland rapper Louie Knuxx), ‘The Big Sleep’, and ‘Fade Away’ are delivered with a satisfying level of density.

While ‘Not Without My Ghosts’ far from reinvents The Amity Affliction, it greatly showcases their strengths.

Hot Mulligan
Photo Credit: Kay Dargs

Hot Mulligan – Why Would I Watch

Michigan quartet Hot Mulligan have been knocking on the door of emo/pop-punk’s elite for quite some time with their notoriety rising with every release. Their third full-length, ‘Why Would I Watch’, looks to continue that trajectory.

For longtime fans, there are the usual Hot Mulligan tropes such as quirky song titles and Tades Sanville’s signature yelps. Nevertheless, ‘Why Would I Watch’ is more coherently delivered, embracing sonically riveting instrumentation.

Early tracks such as ‘It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad‘ and ‘Shhhh! Golf is On’ firmly plays into the vibrant emo/pop-punk in 3 minutes or less playbook. Yet Hot Mulligan doesn’t lie on their laurels and shows a willingness to expand their musical palette. ‘Cock Party 2 (Better Than The First)’ compellingly builds to a radiant conclusion. While ‘No Shoes in the Coffee Shop (Or Socks)’ shines through with its groove, before ‘Betty’ provides a whistful respite.

Throughout Chris Freeman and Ryan Malicsi exchange twisting Midwestern emo riffs aplomb, neatly slotting into Brandon Blakeley’s boisterous drum work. ‘Gans Media Retro Games’ exemplifies this brilliantly, especially when you include Sanville’s sandpaper screams. Late album highlight ‘Smahccked My Head Awf’ puts Sanville’s lyrically raw and exceptional melody play to the forefront.

Overall, ‘Why Would I Watch’ allows Hot Mulligan to be more dynamic, and in places, round off the rough edges of past releases whilst not sacrificing any traits that have got them this far.


happydaze – Full Free Radical

Emerging Glasgow/Edinburgh group happydaze look to make a name for themselves with their latest EP – ‘Full Free Radical’. Neatly injecting slick electronic and trap beats, the Scottish quartet bring a modern twist to the pop-punk genre.

‘Full Free Radical’ is swarming with big hooks. Tracks like ‘Faded’ and ‘Cool Blue’ are bold and punchy. While ‘Thinkinofu’ sees happydaze confidently wearing their influences with a sound that is reminiscent of Neck Deep and The Story So Far.

Throughout vocalist and producer Luke Bovill incorporates elements from various genres with ease. For example, ‘Day in and Out’ aptly uses lo-fi beats before garage drum samples penetrate on ‘Heaven You Felt’. And if you’re looking for a luminous, carefree, and summer-ready blast that offers plenty of longevity, then look no further than the title track.

Closing with the hedonistic vibes of ‘Same To Me’, happydaze‘s “experimental” take on pop-punk makes the Scottish group an exciting prospect.


girlfriends – Over My Dead Body

Travis Mills and Nick Gross aka girlfriends are sure to be a duo who will split the opinion of pop-punk purists. However, if you’re leaning towards the pop side of the spectrum then ‘Over My Dead Body’ has a lot to offer.

As its title track and recent single ‘Life’s A Brittany’ showed, girlfriends‘ brand of pop-punk is comfortably slick in its presentation, allowing the duo to stylistically sit alongside past touring pals Machine Gun Kelly and Avril Lavigne. While questionably musically lightweight, tracks like ‘Plastic’ and ‘Talk’ show how Mills and Gross are able to write playful melodies with ease.

girlfriends and ‘Over My Dead Body’ is firmly an accessible take on nostalgia-tinged pop-punk made for the masses. Some will hate it, others will eat it up shamelessly. If you’re undecided, you could always check them out at Slam Dunk?

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

The Amity Affliction – Not Without My Ghosts
Hot Mulligan – Why Would I Watch
The Acacia Strain – Step Into The Light/Failure Will Follow
Dropkick Murphys – Okemah Rising
Veil Of Maya – [M]OTHER
Devildriver – Dealing With Demons Vol. II
girlfriends – Over My Dead Body EP
Happydaze – Full Free Radical EP
The Rocket Summer – SHADOWKASTERS
CRASHFACE – Prototype
Tokky Horror – KAPPACORE
Teri Gender Bender – CATSPEAK
HIMALAYAS – From Hell to Here
Swollen Teeth – Swollen Teeth
Never Ending Game – Outcry
Melvinator – The Rise Of The Melvinator
Bring The Hoax – Single Coil Candy
Esben And The Witch – Hold Sacred
Burial Clouds – Last Days Of A Dying World
The Dark Side Of The Moon – Metamorphosis
Midwife + Vyva Melinkolya – Orbweaving
PABST – 1, 2, 3, Go!
Sunbeam Overdrive – Diama
Motion Sick – Falling Behind
Lone Wolf – HAZE WAVE
Ryan Oakes – Wake Up
Black Spiders – Can’t Die, Won’t Die

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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