Sadly enough, today is the first day of Autumn. Sorry kids, but it’s time to face the facts: Summer is now over according to the calendar, back to school sales ending, and you getting your lazy butts out of the heat and into the classroom. The first few weeks of school are always a time to get to know your classmates and what they did over the summer. And since this blog has taken an extensive break from posting for most of the summer, what better way to get back into things than to tell you all about what I was listening to while I wasn’t posting on this blog. This should definitely read like a series of recommendations, and the order of the albums has no bearing on any future Top Albums of 2016 lists, or anything of the sort. If you feel so moved by my opinions that you want to talk about them further, feel free to let me know on Twitter. Enjoy!
Pup – The Dream is Over
This sophomore effort from of friendly punks from north of the border didn’t just live up to the justified hype of the band’s debut self-titled effort; it blows it out of the water. Boasting the same boisterous sound as its predecessor, The Dream is Over spans a variety of emotions while maintaining an exteremely high energy level. The 1-2 punch of “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” and superpowered single “DVP” should be more than enough to win you over, but down-and-out anthems like “Doubts” and “Can’t Win” will keep you coming back to this album throughout the rest of this year, and many other after it.
The Hotelier – Goodness
To say that The Hotelier’s next full-length was highly anticipated would be a complete understatement. Home, Like Noplace is There was the poster child for the emo revival after its release in 2014, and all eyes were fixated on the Worchester, Massachusetts quartet to see if the band had some more of the magic they created in their systems. Thankfully, the short is that yes, of course they did. The long answer, however, is that the band shattered those expectations by creating an album that focuses more on feelings of happiness rather than anguish, of grace rather than despair, and in doing so have created an album that can stand on its own as yet another instant-classic from quite possibly the best emo band to come into existence in the past five years.
Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost
Faced with mounting mental issues, deaths in the family, and mounting pressure to live up to You’re Gonna Miss it All‘s buzz, Modern Baseball have overcome any and all obstacles in their way to begin maturing into the band we thought they could beome all along. Holy Ghost is another brick in the wall of albums that highlights what it means to be “growing up” in today’s society. Modern Baseball accomplishes this with the same wide-eyed charm they’ve always had, but their newfound perspective has turned into lyrical maturity and musical risk-taking that they’ve never had before. With Holy Ghost showing the same signs of progression that its predecessor did, Modern Baseball continue to climb the hierarchy of the scene that they’ve begun to fight so hard to protect.
Saosin – Along the Shadow
One of the two gigantic reunion albums in the post-hardcore scene reunites Anthony Green with the band that started his prolific career. Despite this being Saosin’s first release of any kind since 2009’s underwhelming In Search of Solid Ground, the band has shown no signs of rust. Along the Shadow feels like the logical follow-up to the band’s Translating the Name EP, their only release with Green. Though there isn’t a standout track like the genre-defining “Seven Years,” the consistent quality throughout the album is a pleasant surprise for casual listners and diehard fans alike.
Thrice – To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere
The second post-hardcore reunion was even more surprising that Saosin’s reunion. Coming out of nowhere (pun intended, whatever) to release their most poignant album to date, Dustin Kensrue and crew sound like they never left after 2011’s Major/Minor. While some other bands have been reuniting and touring based on nostalgia, Thrice made sure they came back with a fire in their bellies, as Kensrue’s voice overflows with emotion on booming single “Blood on the Sand” and “Whistleblower,” while slow-building “Stay With Me” provides a powerful post-rock touch that Thrice have always dabbled in. A comeback from Thrice was always on the radar, and To be Everywhere is to be Nowhere shows that the band still have plenty left in the tank, and a lot to say.
letlive. – If I’m the Devil…
One of the most forward-thinking bands in a genre that, at its best, is defined by it, letlive. have proved once again why they are exactly the band that punk music needs right now. While the band’s musicianship has been toned down from the aggressive, fast-paced style fans are used to, it’s Jason Aalon Butler’s lyrics that embody the spirit of punk rock, as he tackles many difficult topics that have become pressing issues in the world around him. With the same anthem-quality tracks that The Blackest Beautiful and Fake History had, the band have begun to use their platform for good, which is exactly the type of behavior that have made letlive. one of the most well-liked bands in our scene.
Emarosa – 131
Somehow, Emarosa is a band that I’ve been quite fond of for the better part of the last decade. While I don’t listen to the work they did with longtime detractor Jonny Craig, the music the band wrote was always fresh and unique. When Bradley Walden entered the fray as the band’s frontman, the band immediately began to reach the potential they showed in their early career. 131 is an excellent, consistent album, with Walden’s versatile vocal range only outmatched by the band’s musical prowess. They may not be the most famous band around, but Emarosa are putting together a very interesting discography, and 131 would be the perfect album to prove it to you.
Moose Blood – Blush
While their nostalgia-laced I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time made them darlings of Warped Tour, Moose Blood’s new album Blush will bring them to the forefront of emo. A late-summer release that’s the perfect soundtrack for a sunset, Blush feels like a logical progression for the band, while expanding their creative palatte and showing off what makes them so different from every other band out there. This carefully-crafted album was released at the perfect time of the year for the feelings it evokes, but it will be perfect for any weather if you’re a fan of great music. c
Bayside – Vacancy
Fresh off of their victory lap for surviving 15 years as a band, Bayside retreated to record what would become their seventh album, Vacancy. Despite the things that a 15-year anniversary tour might suggest, it appears that Bayside have a lot left in the tank. Drawing inspiration from his second divorce, Anthony Raneri sounds damn near his angriest, and his emotional lyrics pour out of “Two Letters” and “Rumspringa (Heartbreak Road),” while “I’ve Been Dead All Day” and “Enemy Lines” are sure to get heads rocking. However, it’s deeper cuts like “Mary” and “The Ghost,” which showcase a little different approach in the band’s songwriting, that show that Bayside are about as close as it gets to sure-fire success with each new release.
Whew, what a way to come back! It’s so fun to talk about what music you’re listening to, and I’m looking forward to sharing more with the world in the next few months. With A Day to Remember, Every Time I Die, and many more releasing albums in September, this fall looks loaded with releases! We’ll recap it all and see you soon!