Tuesday, 5 March 2019

***BEST OF 2018***

I nag on posting Best Of lists too early, but here I am posting mine (and Dave from Crowning's) 2018 lists in March of 2019. So take that as you may. 2018 was another terrible year for humanity, and therefore a good year for music. This blog continues to have more and more hits, reaching 1,000,000 earlier this year and we're already a quarter of the way to the next 1,000,000. Zegema Beach Records went from a money pit to doing okay, and I got to release a ridiculous amount of music that I adore from people that I love. And in my personal life I moved to B.C. Canada and my wife and I had a new baby girl.

A few quick things:
***Best show: Emma Goldman tape release show w/Terrifying Girls' High School, Robertcooperphillips and Duck! (review/videos here)

***Best song: "Violence" by SNAG


***I did a best of non-ZBR releases for DIY Conspiracy linked here and best of late 2018 releases at Idioteq.com linked here.

***There's a 2018-2019 retrospective of all the shows I've gone to with reviews and videos coming this month, so I made a little teaser!

***Zegema Beach Records Fest 2019 was announced yesterday and here is the poster/lineup!


The
(((((OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain)))))
Best of 2018

Top 20 LPs

-------------------o0(1)0o-------------------
'Dead Forever' cassette/12"LP
A screamo blog with a non-screamo #1? Fuck yes. After hearing their demo EP in 2017 I was expecting big things, but not this. Unreal sassy, noisy, screamy rock that is so good I had to convince the band to do the vinyl, instead of the other way around!
ffo: METZ & Life In Vacuum
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(2)0o-------------------
'Illusions' 12"LP
Because I spearheaded this 12" release with the band I had been jamming this plenty in late 2017, knowing it would be near the top spot the following year. I was not mistaken. Super technical screamo with dual vocals from Russia. Also, unreal art.
ffo: Capsule & Carrion Spring
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(3)0o-------------------
'Residue' cassette/12"LP
I have been following this Australian band for years, but I wasn't expecting such a dense, chaotic and incredible shift following the addition of their new vocalist. Simply put, a phenomenal piece of work that is 2018's answer to the new Nuvolascura LP.
ffo: Lord Snow & Nuvolascura
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(4)0o-------------------
RESPIRE
'Dénouement' cassette/12"LP
As a whole this work of art surpasses my Toronto friends' debut LP, and does so with hella gusto. The band turned to their violinist in hopes of filling Emmett's shoes after losing their trumpet player as a constant member, and Eslin brought her own, awesome shoes instead, giving the band/record a new feel that translates to some undeniably epic shit. Glad to finally see the band getting the recognition and praise that they deserve.
ffo: Infant Island & Deafheaven
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(5)0o-------------------
LIFE IN VACUUM
'All You Can Quit' 12"LP
Kind of a new LP, kind of a compilation of the last few years from the band - whatever it is it's fucking great. Tracks like "Apartment", "It's You" and "Uniform" are certifiable bangers, as is pretty much everything they release. And, as always, they shame most other bands with their electric live performances.
ffo: Hot Snakes & Drive Like Jehu
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(6)0o-------------------
'Live and Let's Die' 12"LP
Sweden's underground baby unleashed their debut LP in 2018 and had the screamo scene in a frenzy, cuz this is some next level shit. And they're a three-piece. And they recorded everything themselves. Dog Knights got back into the screamo game and then some with this gorgeous 12".
ffo: Via Fondo & Curtains
-----o-----

-------------------o0(7)0o-------------------
'Infant Island' cassette/12"LP
After not quite getting this record initially, I eventually became obsessed with it and was able to release it on cassette. Shawn Decker described it to me as The Spirit Of Versailles meets Respire and they couldn't have been more accurate. "A Preoccupation" was easily one of my favourite songs of the year and this was another release that went on to get some much deserved love outside of the primary screamo avenues.
ffo: The Spirit Of Versailles & Respire
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(8)0o-------------------
'The Mirror' cassette/11"LP
Shawn Decker pulled a fast one on us and dropped a ridiculously good full length titled 'The Mirror' that was even better than I was expecting. Incorporating more frustration, self-doubt and feedback, these 10 tracks might just be the most complete and commanding release of their very extensive discography.
ffo: Orchid & Funeral Diner
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(9)0o-------------------
CLOSET WITCH
'Closet Witch' 12"LP
Holy shit. I'd heard good things about the band and enjoyed their split with Euth, but I was astounded at the power and ferocity on this full length. Those vocals, my dear lord, oh those vocals. The videos I've seen of them live are wild. I need to see this band, and if you haven't even heard them you need to change that this instant.
ffo: Resurrectionists & Cloud Rat
-----o-----

-------------------o0(10)0o-------------------
HEX LARIAT
'Empryean' cassette"LP
Wowza this was a hell of a surprise. I enjoyed the debut EP from 2016 but this LP is something else. Combining the adrenaline of speedy black metal with throat-shredding screams and some sporadic singing, this was a sadly overlooked full length that made my top 10 list months ago.
ffo: Guidelines & Tentacles
-----o-----

-------------------o0(11)0o-------------------
'Friedrich' 12"LP
I've always really loved LOCKTENDER live, but I've only liked LOCKTENDER on record. That all changed in 2018 because this new record, I fucking love. The vocals still include the deep growls, but Nick manages to expand into screamier territory and Andrew includes some mesmerizing singing that, when combined with the beautiful/destructive instrumentals, is simply breathtaking.
ffo: Fall Of Efrafa & Respire
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(12)0o-------------------
'Euth' 12"LP
I saw EUTH at Swamp Fest 2 in Richmond and was eagerly awaiting this LP, and boy oh boy does it deliver. Jarring, awkward, chaotic and mind-numbing metal/screamy hardcore from some of the nicest people around.
ffo: Vein & Enkephalin
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(13)0o-------------------
GILLIAN CARTER
'This Earth Shaped Tomb' 12"LP
I love how GILLIAN CARTER is really settling into their own sound, and this is more than apparent on this beast of a record, housing a total of 15 songs ranging from 20 seconds to five minutes. Not to mention, the art and lyrics are superb.
ffo: A Day In Black And White and Monte Ida
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(14)0o-------------------
'XX' digitalLP
I'd never heard of MINARET from Russia, but good god I'll never be forgetting that name. Blackened screamo with nods to Converge, this song/interlude/song/interlude concept works very well as otherwise you'd probably die without those peaceful breaks.
ffo: Red Water & Converge
-----o-----

-------------------o0(15)0o-------------------
'Enemy' 12"LP
Damn, OSTRACA is pumping out releases the last 36 months, including two LPs and a split 12". This continues in the direction of "dank slappin'" and includes a ridiculously righteous 50-second banger alongside jams nearly 10 minutes in length. And if you haven't seen them live you haven't lived.
ffo: Perfect Blue & 60659-C
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(16)0o-------------------
ROLO TOMASSI
'Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It' cd/2x12"LP
I guess ROLO TOMASSI just broke into semi-mainstream success with this, and like so many others this was my introduction to the nearly decade-long running British outfit. Mixing epic black metal with some Genghis Tron keyboards and the occasional angelic singing, this is an album that spent a good two months in heavy rotation at the Norman house.
ffo: Genghis Tron & Devil Sold His Soul
-----o-----

-------------------o0(17)0o-------------------
SECTIONED
'Annihilated' 12"LP
I heard Frontierer before I heard SECTIONED (as they share most members) and was pretty goddamn smitten, but in the end it was 'Annihilated' that I kept coming back to. A little less experimental and a little more violent, this LP is like Psyopus and Meshugga in a blender. Body bag not included.
ffo: Frontierer and Meshugga
-----o-----

-------------------o0(18)0o-------------------
'f' 12"LP
I think the Spanish band might have been jamming a lot of Vi Som Älskade Varandra Så Mycket (for obvious reasons) and the transition to longer, slower and more epic songs worked out really, really well for DESCUBRIENDO A MR. MIME. It's remarkable how lost I get in this LP.
ffo: Boneflower & Vi Som Älskade Varandra Så Mycket
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(19)0o-------------------
'Separation Anxiety' 12"LP
You can't get much more progressive than the new CASSUS record. In addition to bringing an A+++ live game, their experimentation on this album as well as the singing are top notch. The art direction on this is fucking stunning, to boot. I think you'd likely find this album higher on a lot of screamo lists.
ffo: Majorel & Tröpical Ice Land
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(20)0o-------------------
'Nulajednanulanula' cd/cassetteLP
Well holy fuck where did this come from? Oh yeah, Prague. The songs contained on here are barely kept at bay and nearly tear the listeners face off, concocting a blend of blackened screamo, post-rock, metal and post-hardcore. It's eerie, it's beautiful, it's haunting, and it's one hell of a name to memorize.
ffo: Jeanne & Rutka Laskier
-----o-----



Top 15 EPs

-------------------o0(1)0o-------------------
'I' 7"EP
I have listened to this EP so much over the past 8 months that I've gone beyond losing count, I've lost my fuckin' self. A two-piece boasting six tracks over 10 minutes and three music videos, as well as an upcoming Japanese tour, I am barely keeping it together awaiting their upcoming full length. I love Botch and this is very Botch so if you like Botch then Botch and Botch then Botch Botch Botch.
ffo: Norma Jean & Botch
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(2)0o-------------------
HAWAK
'Lift the Mist demo' cassetteEP
Speaking of trying to stay sane whilst waiting for upcoming full lengths, I'm coming apart at the seams after hearing the three-song demo from California's HAWAK. Driving and jazzy with multiple screamers, I'm just goddamned smitten to the max.
ffo: Swan Of Tuonela & Matsuri
-----o-----

-------------------o0(3)0o-------------------
'Komusō' cassetteEP + 'Luck Will Be On Your Side This Week' 7"EP
Japanese all-stars meet visiting Swedish drummer and create two completely different yet utterly bonkers EPs. There's the screamy, emo-violence and Yage-sounding cassette followed by the slow, clean and Slint-influenced 7". Look for a split 10" in 2019!
ffo: Yarmulke & Loma Prieta
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(4)0o-------------------
BIG WATER
'Drink More Water' cassetteEP
A sensational debut EP from Kansas City's BIG WATER. The six tracks of rollicking, abrasive, driving and screamy hardcore brings me back to the days of dancey Nebraska screamo. And there's just something about the art and tapes that make me pull them out and play them on a consistent basis.
ffo: Heritage Unit & Slow Fire Pistol
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(5)0o-------------------
'demo​(​loni​)​taksupo​(​mulo)' cd/cassetteEP
Good lord who writes their first solo screamo release and drops something like this? Well, Mashi from Malaysia did and nearly broke my brain in the process. Jam this song, it's unbelievably good. So are the other four on the demo. Fans of Orchid, Coma Regalia and The Ultimate Screamo Band will be delighted.
ffo: Coma Regalia & The Ultimate Screamo Band
-----o-----

-------------------o0(6)0o-------------------
ISTILAH
'Fill the Void' cassetteEP
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is the most Japanese sounding non-screamo release I've ever heard, and it's faaaaantastic. From the textbook emo-violence guitars to the repetitive vocal patterns and desperate screams, I'm all-the-fuck over this.
ffo: Blue Friend and Sans Visage
-----o-----

-------------------o0(7)0o-------------------
'Sporadic Defenestration' cassetteEP
From the ashes of Commuovere and Hérésie came DIANACRAWLS and stunned the screamo world. Self-described glam skramz couldn't be more accurate. A gem of a debut from a bunch of great people.
ffo: To Dream Of Autumn & Commuovere
-----o-----

-------------------o0(8)0o-------------------
EUCLID C FINDER
'Euclid C Finder' + 'A Standard Basis For The Set of All Discontent' cassette2xEP
Mike Mehl played in Kiss The Sky Goodbye and Egarra, so on that alone I was amped for this project, and holy shit it did not disappoint...especially with two EPs in the same year! Hyperactive, chaotic and extremely talented solo-grind/emo-violence from Baltimore.
ffo: Graf Orlock & Me And Him Call It Us
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(9)0o-------------------
LYTIC
'Onesided' cassetteEP
A no brainer, with Jamie Behar of Saetia and Off Minor finally coming out of screamo retirement everyone went bananas. They even dropped another three amazing jams the following month on the Shizune split 7" and have another two coming out on an upcoming 4-way split 12". This two-piece is incredible, plain and simple.
ffo: La Quiete & Off Minor
-----o-----

-------------------o0(10)0o-------------------
'I Love You' cassetteEP
Wow. Just wow. Everything is destroyed. It's all rusted and gutted. It looks like death. It sounds like death. And it's beautiful.
ffo: Me And Him Call It Us & Hayworth
-----o-----

-------------------o0(11)0o-------------------
'Paura di Farcela' cdEP
Woah nelly that's some amazing Italian screamo! Featuring Francesco of Longrail Records, this four-song EP brings me back at least a decade and has me eagerly awaiting the followup.
ffo: Altar Of Complaints and Kaospilot
-----o-----

-------------------o0(12)0o-------------------
'Cape Light' digitalEP
CAPE LIGHT has been around since 2016 but I only heard them last year, like a goddamned fool. Abrasive, chaotic, lightning-quick and noisy as fuck, the Japanese band tears through four songs in early Loma Prieta fashion.
ffo: Loma Prieta and Heisse
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(13)0o-------------------
'No life left to take' cassetteEP
Looking for a good horror movie? Well look no further than this soundtrack to your nightmares' nightmares, cuz this is evil incarnate. Imagine Shikari and Converge doing a battle set and you're literally there.
ffo: Minaret & Still
-----o-----

-------------------o0(14)0o-------------------
EUX
'et les autres' cassette/12"EP
If Daïtro went dancey and then collapsed into depression it'd probably sound like the debut 7-song  EUX album. Fantastic French screamo/post-hardcore that many in North America likely missed.
ffo: Daïtro & Amanda Woodward
-----o-----

-------------------o0(15)0o-------------------
SLEEP DEBT - 'Sleep Debt' digitalEP
+
IN WOLVES' CLOTHING - 'In Wolves' Clothing' cassetteEP
I can't make a decision as both of these need to be included for being awesome. SLEEP DEBT cuz it's some seriously powerful and raw screamo, as well as IN WOLVES CLOTHING because the intricacy and multiple vocalists floor me.
SLEEP DEBT: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Snag & People's Temple Project
"UNTITLED #5"
IN WOLVES' CLOTHING: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Majorel & Mothlightbuy from ZBR here
-----o-----


Top 10 Splits
-------------------o0(1)0o-------------------
The CROWNING/SWALLOWS NEST split 7" family tree splits
Crowning + Swallows Nest / CrowningMarée Noire / Swallows Nest + Snag
Through the new band from New Zealand that I joined in late 2017 (SWALLOWS NEST) I have been forever enshrined along incredible screamo bands. Last  year our first song was released alongside Chicago's CROWNING and their unbelievable three-track follow up to their 'Funeral Designs' EP. They also did a split with Montreal's MARÉE NOIRE that is a sludgy, metalcore, screamo fan's delight. SWALLOWS NEST branched out the other way and did a split with Milwaukee's SNAG that was without a doubt the best song I heard in 2018. I'm not saying my band should be #1, but all the other bands combined sure are.
ZBR: Bandcamp
ffo: Youth Novel, Hundreds Of AUWelcome The Plague YearTextbook Traitors
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(2)0o-------------------
ENVY/LOVE tribute compilation 12"LP
Beast Jesus + Massa Nera + Crowning + Niboowin + LKTDOV + Apostles Of Eris + Respire + Gillian CarterCarcajou + Shizune
I think this tribute is ace. Every band did a great job of making an Envy song their own and it all came together so nicely. The time, effort and love that I put into this probably makes me a little more biased, but watch that Respire video/song and try not to feel the feels...not possible.
-----o-----

-------------------o0(3)0o-------------------
CURTAINS / NEW RUINS 'haliXkaliV2' split cassette
When I found out from NEW RUINS that this split didn't have a label I jumped on it so quick. This split between the Halifax band and California's CURTAINS is the perfect blend of sheer chaos and epic post-hardcore.
CURTAINS: Bandcamp / Facebook

ffo: Examination Of The... & Beau Navire

NEW RUINS: Bandcamp / Facebook

ffo: Lyed & The Bled
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(4)0o-------------------
I didn't see this 4-way coming and it fucking blew my mind. I knew I loved Singapore's emo-violence gods BETHARI, but Japan's POETRY OF TORCH and their noisy, destroyed screamo sent me straight to heaven. MAR NEGRO and INQUIRY LAST SCENERY also drop their best material. If you missed this you need to rectify.
Tenzenmen Records: Bandcamp / Facebook
Exit Music: Bandcamp
ffo: Cape Light & Senza
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(5)0o-------------------
This was a no brainer. The last SYSC release before their major label signing was a split with Jonah of WristMeetRazor's solo project and both sides will tear the skin right from your body.
SEEYOUSPACECOWBOY: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Daughters & Fear Before The March Of Flames

SECONDGRADEKNIFEFIGHT: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Ed Gein & Discordance Axis
-----o-----

-------------------o0(6)0o-------------------
DREI AFFEN / COMA REGALIA split 7"EP
I've been sitting on these DREI AFFEN tracks for two years so I am ecstatic to have them see the light of day, premiered with a sick music video and coupled with COMA REGALIA. This split is just silly good. Crusty Spanish screamo meets cathartic U.S. screamo.
DREI AFFEN: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Remains The Day & Welcome The Plague Year

COMA REGALIA: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: ...Who Calls So Loud & Piet Onthel
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(7)0o-------------------
GHOST SPIRIT / FRAIL HANDS split 12"
I actually got to premiere the first two singles off of this split and have been jamming it consistently since. GHOST SPIRIT has members of all the best bands and take an experimental and melodic approach to screamo while FRAIL HANDS tear shit up in typical Canadian screamo fashion.
GHOST SPIRIT: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Lord Snow & Tower Of Silence

FRAIL HANDS: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Blind Girls & Mahria
-----o-----

-------------------o0(8)0o-------------------
мятеж / CARL JOHNSON split cassette
A bunch of young Russian screamo fans by the name of CARL JOHNSON asked me if мятеж would be interested in doing a split tape, and after hearing their songs I said hell the fuck ass yeah, or something of the sort. Their side is Bremen/Canadian hardcore worship and our side is probably the strongest collection of songs alongside the Kelut split 12".
мятеж: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Makara & The World That Summer

CARL JOHNSON: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Union Of Uranus & Acme
buy from ZBR here
-----o-----

-------------------o0(9)0o-------------------
I was lucky enough to premiere this incredible international split. The AU BOUT DE MES LÈVRES is fucking gorgeous and the YUBARI GOGO side is fucking devastating. And I love that art.
AU BOUT DE MES LÈVRES: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Trachimbrod and Daïtro

YUBARI GOGO: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Minaret & Virginia On Duty
-----o-----

-------------------o0(10)0o-------------------
UNDERDARK / ANTRE split 7"
This was one of the first releases I remember adding to the possible list of favourites for the year, and it made it all the way to the end. The split is great, but the UNDERDARK side is phenomenal. Fans of huge, atmospheric blackened screamo should be shitting themselves over this.
UNDERDARK: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: Old Soul & Deafheaven

ANTRE: Bandcamp / Facebook
ffo: The Ocean & Anopheli
-----o-----
____

AmeriDave’s Top 10 2018

*AmeriDave is Dave Cullen from Crowning who also runs the U.S.A. Zegema Beach store.

The Armed - Only Love
I’ve never been more jealous of a band in all my years.  Their videos, their artwork, the curated lore, the absolute physical and visual assault of their live show. Tom Schlatter already did a great review of this so let’s just link that here, but know that this is a fearless hardcore record from a group of people who have reached an unobtainable level of cool that mortals like ourselves can only witness and document.

Closer - All This Will Be
The third track on this album is such a jam.  The whole thing is undeniably great but let’s start where we should.  “Hardly Art” opens with the strained and cathartic confession “All I want is something familiar.”, and there’s never been a more universally relatable set of words put together. The effort put into the lyrics is evident. At times both over and under-articulated, every message feels ambiguous, yet oddly specific to someone. Ryann’s uncertain yet fully committed delivery is like a loudly announced act of self preservation, and easily the album’s sharpest weapon. This album has stayed with me for over a year now.

Elle - She
I’ll always be a sucker for a bright screamo band, and there’s something undeniably bright about this band made up of Loma Prieta, Beau Navire, and Yearbooks members. The gain is rolled back, the riffs are urgent but melodic and recognizable. The vocals are peaky and always pushing upward. It’s frill-less and consistent, but at a brief 24min, it never comes close to wearing out its welcome.

Sectioned - Annihilated
If Elle is the demure tortured wallflower, this is the other guy. Less than ten seconds into the album the line in the sand is visible. You’re either doing this whole thing with us or you’re not. The production is impossibly good, I would say almost to a fault if excess wasn’t the theme of this album. Nearly every moment on this record is a fully saturated, nauseating collage of impacts and abrasive sonic chaos that you just have to trust are in a time signature. This album is if Pacific Rim fucked a Four Loko. You know you’d put on a helmet and watch that.

Life in Vacuum - All That You Can Quit
Life in Vacuum have been around for a hot minute, and have always done their own thing. And not only is it their own thing, it’s a thing I have no idea how to replicate. Their brand of jangly post punk screamo is so dense with off-kilter grooves and dynamics that wouldn’t stand a chance in the hands of any other group. Outliers of many genres, they appear unchained to the tropes and expectations of their influences, and prove it’s easier to dance when you’re very impressed.

Blind Girls - Residue
We all know this record is a beast. The blistering velocity of one riff after another, treble set to 13. Loosely held together by diaphragm perforating vocals but never for a moment do you doubt they don’t have a hand firmly on the wheel. It’s really an emoviolence christmas. Much like the more recent Nuvolascura record or the posthumous Mahria album, it feels like any 15 second segment of this record could stand to be unpacked for days, each warranting it’s own review.

Please, Believe! - ...In Potential
There’s a desperate reaching to the music Please, Believe! make. The scottish 3 piece finds a solid bridge between the clean building style of bands like Carson Wells and the more post punk leanings of Self Defense Family, especially in the vocals. The strength of this release is the full utilization of all three members without cheating the end product or ever letting one member carry the team. Every bass line is vital to every guitar line, and every coarse vocal provides the mournful counterpoint to sections that would otherwise feel like a triumph. These limitations are on full display, which makes what they did with them that much more impressive. The album feels as the lyrics describe, “adrift and barely holding on”.

Улыбайся Ветру - Illusions
A 12 minute LP from Улыбайся Ветру (Smile to the Wind) is all these Russians need to prove what they’re capable of. Intended to be taken in as one piece, every song is written in the same key. On paper, this would feel like a hindrance if each song wasn’t a frantic burst of complex chord progressions tied to impossibly precise drumming that seems to end just as soon as it began. Even after only 12 minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve lived an entire life.

Advance Base - Animal Companionship
Bear with me as I venture far away from the screamo we usually cover here.  Owen Ashworth has had many projects in the same vein as Advance Base. There’s usually a simple drum machine, there’s a keyboard, and you can probably expect an omnichord. But that’s not a knock because Owen is a bard, and his main talent lies in the stories that ride on his low, contained voice. This album ties major events in his character’s lives to the unconditional love from pets, at times providing a silver lining to the sad nostalgia always present on Advance Base records. His last album, Nephew in the Wild, is one of 10 records I would take to the desert island, and he again proves he can use the same details that make his story specific to himself, feel universal to everyone.
“Heater's blowing in the car
over the sound of a college game
Don't know the team names
but it's nice to have a voice on”

California Cousins - Distant Relatives
It would be too easy to lump this New York 3 piece into the modern emo/pop genre. And the first track tries to fool you into doing so, with it’s stripped down intro and bouncy vocals. But when that drops away to the angular riff that follows, things appear permanently different. Painting with technicality, every track is a pleasant struggle that regardless of how it began, won me over by its end.  This won’t be for everyone, as it straddles many genres that had their day in the sun long ago. But California Cousins attacks them with a ferocity that makes it extremely palatable for anyone with an ear for the infectiously dissonant.

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