#NewMusicFriday (May 19th 2023)

This week’s #NewMusicFriday considerably highlights band’s and artist’s ability to mix things up.

Amongst the plethora of releases out today is ‘Phantomime’, a new covers EP from Ghost. It sees Tobias Forge and company put their gothic stadium rock stamp on songs from Genesis, Tina Turner, and Iron Maiden.

Elsewhere, Sleep Token delivers their anticipated third album – ‘Take Me Back To Eden’, and The Used put it all out in the open on ‘Toxic Positivity’. Steel City’s Def Leppard gets all orchestral as they team up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on ‘Drastic Symphonies’.

When it comes to noteworthy rising names, there’s the new EP from Bristol-based “genre-fluid” Sun Spot. There are also releases from politically-charged punk from Lambrini Girls, towering Yorkshire post-punks Feral Family, and Seattle outfit Pastel Faces tread the fine line between melodic hardcore and pop-punk.

If you’re after some metal to kickstart your weekend, there’s music from brooding doom-makers Vnder A Crvmbling Moon, atmospheric proggers The Ocean, and Frozen Soul bring some ice-cold death metal.

For those wanting some straight-up melodic rock, there is new music from Cinema StareHarsh Light, and Kala.

Finally, if you want some towering instrumental post-rock, take a listen to FORT.

Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden

From the moment Sleep Token dropped ‘Chokehold’ and ‘The Summoning’ at the start of the year, you knew the enigmatic group were in for a big year, especially as the latter garnered plenty of reactions across social media.

Since then, Vessel 1 and 2 have released four more tracks, demonstrating their muscular versatility.  Collectively, the six tracks out there served their purpose by building excitement and intrigue for ‘Take Me Back To Eden’. While tracks such as the haunting synth-laden ‘Aqua Regia’ or the slick R&B vibes of ‘Granite’ don’t quite have the same impact on their own, when they’re pieced together in ‘Take Me Back…’, it all makes sense.

Sleep Token have repeatedly shown their ability to produce enthralling music that seamlessly transcends and incorporates genres. Take ‘Vore’ for example. Larger-than-life production booms as Vessel 1 croons and screams in equal measure. Whereas ‘DYWTYLM’ pivots comfortably into plucky, atmospheric pop. Nevertheless, at the core is Vessel’s emotional lyrical depth, allowing them to build a compelling world of ecstasy and misery.

They might be polarising for some, but ‘Take Me Back To Eden’ is sure to be a satisfying conclusion to Sleep Token‘s trilogy, allowing their cult to keep on growing.

The Used 2023

The Used – Toxic Positivity

Throughout their career, The Used‘s frontman Bert McCracken has resonantly been frank, lyrically laying out on the line. ‘Toxic Positivity’  is their ninth(!) full-length and questionably sees McCraken at his most blunt.

Alongside McCraken’s depression and anxiety, the album was created amid an intense social, economic and political climate. Joined by bassist Jepha, drummer Dan Whitesides and guitarist Joey Bradford, serve up a record that is unashamedly honest yet combines it with The Used‘s distinctive brand of melodic alt rock.

‘Headspace’ soars with optimism, as does ‘Top of the World’. Whereas ‘Pinky Swear’ stomps with lyrical determination (“Save me, I need to know what it feels like, Before I fade away”). Ultimately pulling from all corners of their 23-year-long career, ‘Toxic Positivity’ is a boisterous record that celebrates The Used‘s past, present, and future.  From the sonically explosive density of ‘The Worst (Worst I’ve Ever Been)’ to ‘I Hate Everybodys hip-hop-heavy tempo, to the acoustic bittersweet (and guilt-ridden) tone of ‘House of Sand’, ‘Toxic Positivity’ confidently swings back and forth stylistically, being tied together by McCraken’s cathartic words.

Sun Spot

Sun Spot – Working Memory

With a melting pot of ethereal lo-fi pop, jagged 90’s indie, and melancholy 2000’s dance with a sprinkling of post-punk, emerging Bristoians Sun Spot firmly back up their “genre-fluid” tag on‘Working Memory’. The quartet’s experimental twists and turns are certainly unique yet there’s a charm to what they do.

Recent single, ‘Keepsake’, exemplifies this with its blissful synths, laidback guitars, and sunswept tempo. Whereas ‘Dead In The Water’ hones in on the hedonistic vibes, and ‘Shiver’ is simply a pleasant blend of acoustic guitars and fuzzy experimentation. Additionally, ‘Panic Room’ brings a sense of unhinged chaos to the end of the EP; distorted vocals and screeching guitars.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

Ghost – Phantomime
Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden
The Used – Toxic Positivity
Def Leppard – Drastic Symphonies
The Ocean – Holocene
Vnder A Crvmbling Moon – I: Oblivion
Youth Fountain – Keepsakes & Reminders Acoustic
Sun Spot – Working Memory
Kid Brunswick – The Fall: Part 1
Lambrini Girls – You’re Welcome
Horse Jumper Of Love – Natural Part
Pastel Faces – Blossom
Decent Criminal – There’s More To It Than Climbing
Sir Chloe – I Am The Dog
Bad//Dreems – HOO HA!
Feral Family – Playtest
Frozen Soul – Glacial Domination
In Somni – Lifeless Carnation
Framework – Change Is Not the Enemy
Cinema Stare – The Things I Don’t Need
Harsh Lights – Watch The World Divide
Kala – Diary Of A Depressed Creative
Gozu – Remedy
HotWax – A Thousand Times
Lockstep – Arrival
Days Like These – ICON
FORT – All Is Said And Done, We Still Draw Breath
Paper Bee – Thaw, Freeze, Thaw
Featherweight – Ojalá Eternidad

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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