Oct. 20Iron Chic, “You Can’t Stay Here”My name is Cooper Stapleton and I sometimes like to listen to pop punk. There’s nothing wrong with admitting it. Iron Chic first showed themselves when I was deep in my nothing-but-Southern-California-grindcore phase, and I tried to ignore them for a long time. But I’ll be damned if I said they didn’t write supremely catchy punk rock. There are chord changes, there are shouted choruses about how much [insert town here] sucks and that we should get out while we can. There is an earnestness that a lot of bigger bands of the genre can no longer claim. With their new one from Side One Dummy records, Iron Chic has gone a long way in proving that the genre has quite a bit to offer the world. And now, being labelmates with the likes of Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly, they are finally amongst their peers.
And So I Watch You From Afar, “Endless Shimmering”As I listen to the first selection off of “Endless Shimmering,” I am immediately brought back to the raucous youth of instrumental bands like Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles – stirring and emotive post-rock that ebbs and flows its way along, like the banks of the Animas River. The music, shards of guitar work punctuating simple but driving drums, moves forward at a brisk pace, layering shimmering (true to their name) leads on top of shimmering leads, culminating in a crescendo, a break, and the occasional segue into strings.
Bloody Beetroots, “Great Electronic Swindle”Now here is one that I didn’t see coming and welcome wholeheartedly. I love a good meld of punk and electronic, whether it be the weird pop noise of liars, the dreamy crashes of HEALTH, or, now, the shrieking nu-metal bursts of the four-to-the-floor electronic that is The Bloody Beetroots. BB first caught my attention a while back working with my punk rock hero Justin Pearson, and they have stayed on my periphery since. The bursts I’ve heard of the aptly referenced “Great Electronic Swindle” do not disappoint, showing a reverence for glorious arena rock from ages gone by while embracing the bombastic nature of the arena DJs that dominate the prevailing musical culture in the now.
Trivium, “Sin And The Sentence”Trivium, with their second album “The Ascendancy” way back in 2005, was one of my stepping stones into extreme music when I was a wee lad of 13. I have fallen away from their blend of thrashy guitar-led structure and almost operatic singing emphasized by shouts of defiance, but I always come back to check out the new records whenever they drop. Gone are the days of the Metallica-clone sound, as are the days of straight up metalcore structure. Vocalist Matt Heafy seems to have rekindled the fire in his voice along with his riffing getting another layer of meat. I highly recommend this band to those that love modern hard rock and radio metal but want to get into a band that has a little more to sink your teeth into.
Other notable releases: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Nahko and the Medicine for the People, Brand New, and “Veil of Maya,” a live documentary from Slipknot.Cooper Stapleton