1. Frog Mallet - S/T (EP) (Boston, Massachusetts)
Genre: Bullfrog Beatdown
2. Mothica - Nocturnal (lofi beats to fall asleep to) (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Growing up in Oklahoma, MOTHICA found openly talking about mental health struggles to be taboo and looked to the internet for a sense of community. Though MOTHICA has been writing music since she was a kid, she did not begin pursuing music until she was 18, producing and releasing her songs independently online. Embarking on a journey of self-expression and exploration through music, MOTHICA has since released a handful of EPs, countless singles, and her 2020 debut record Blue Hour, which charted No. 3 in the US on iTunes the week of its release.
Making catchy alt-pop about difficult subject matters, MOTHICA has racked up 200M global streams and has collaborated with artists like nothing,nowhere., Royal & the Serpent, and MEMBA. She has built a passionate fanbase that connects with her openness on past traumas, battle with depression, and sobriety. MOTHICA seeks to challenge stigmas surrounding mental health with her inspiring message, using music as an outlet to depict a shared experience that anyone could relate to.
3. Julia Jacklin - PRE PLEASURE (Sydney, Australia)
Since releasing her debut album Don’t Let the Kids Win in 2016, Melbourne’s Julia Jacklin has carved out a fearsome reputation as a direct lyricist, willing to excavate the parameters of intimacy and agency in songs both stark and raw, loose, and playful. If her debut announced those intentions, and the startling 2019 follow-up Crushing drew in listeners uncomfortably close, PRE PLEASURE is the sound of Jacklin gently loosening her grip. Stirring piano-led opener ‘Lydia Wears A Cross’ channels the underage confusion of being told religion is profound, despite only feeling it during the spectacle of its pageantry. The gentle pulse of ‘Love, Try Not To Let Go’ and dreamy strings of ‘Ignore Tenderness’ betray an interrogation of consent and emotional injury. The stark ‘Less Of A Stranger’ picks at the generational thread of a mother/daughter relationship, while the hymnal ‘Too In Love To Die’ and loose jam of ‘Be Careful With Yourself’ equate true love with the fear of losing it. Recorded in Montreal with co-producer Marcus Paquin (The Weather Station, The National), PRE PLEASURE finds Jacklin teamed with her Canada-based touring band, bassist Ben Whiteley, guitarist Will Kidman, and drummer Laurie Torres. PRE PLEASURE presents Jacklin as her most authentic self; an uncompromising and masterful lyricist, always willing to mine the depths of her own life experience, and singular in translating it into deeply personal, timeless songs.
4. Teen Suicide - honeybee table at the butterfly feast (Baltimore, Maryland)
5. Pianos Become The Teeth - Drift (Baltimore, Maryland)
The opening couplet on Pianos Become The Teeth’s fifth full-length album Drift is as captivating as it is haunting, a statement which can also be said of the album as a whole. “For me, this record feels like one long night,” frontman Kyle Durfey explains. “Out Of Sight'' parallels that feeling musically via layered vocals, atmospheric instrumentation and percussion accents that sound like a crackling fire before the song carefully crescendos into a hypnotic blend of distorted bass and melodic guitar line that’s strangely satisfying and completely unexpected. But Pianos Become The Teeth have never been the type of act to follow conventions. The Baltimore, D.C., five-piece—which also features guitarists Mike York and Chad McDonald, bassist Zac Sewell and drummer David Haik—originally started out as a screamo band and gained an enthusiastic fanbase via 2009’s Old Pride and 2011’s The Lack Long After. However shortly afterward Durfey stopped screaming and the band transitioned into a post-rock act who expanded their sound on 2014’s Keep You and 2018’s Wait For Love. Drift is the culmination of the band’s penchant for redefining and transcending their sound and it does so in a way that stays true to their artistic and aesthetic vision.
6. Have Mercy - S/T (Baltimore, Maryland)
Baltimore emo band Have Mercy had initially said that their 2020 tour -- which followed the death of founding drummer Aaron Alt -- would be their last, but COVID cut that tour short, and a lot changed for frontman Brian Swindle over the past couple years. He got sober, got engaged, and started writing new material, and he eventually decided to reunite Have Mercy's mid 2010s lineup -- Brian, guitarist Andrew Johnson, bassist Nick Woolford, and drummer Todd Wallace.
7. Becoming The Archetype - Children of the Great Extinction (Atlanta, Georgia)
10 years since their last release, Becoming The Archetype realize their most expansive, entrancing, and engaging vision yet on their sixth full-length offering, Children of the Great Extinction [Solid State Records]. The core trio—Jason Wisdom [vocals/bass], Seth Hecox [guitar/keyboard/vocals], and Brent “Duck” Duckett [drums]—focus their intensity into a cinematic trip bolstered by soaring clean vocals, technically proficient instrumentation, and a fascinating sci-fi concept. In 2005, Becoming The Archetype landed with the force of a tsunami on Terminate Damnation. Presenting an inimitable hybrid of tech, death, and progressive metal underpinned by deep themes, they captivated fans with The Physics of Fire in 2007. For Dichotomy a year later, they teamed up with the legendary Devin Townsend [Strapping Young Lad] behind-the-board as producer and served up anthems like the title track featuring Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter. Along the way, they packed shows touring with legendary bands like Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, Demon Hunter, Zao, The Chariot, and more. In 2011 the band partnered with producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Chariot) to unleash their most progressive album, Celestial Completion—the last album to feature Jason and “Duck”—until now. After building a devout fan base through a series of seminal records, they fulfill their potential at the highest level with a blockbuster story now on Children of the Great Extinction.
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