As in-tune and dedicated as we are, TGS can only do so much to review each and every relevant release that comes across our ears in any given year. Full-time jobs, other writing assignments, and regular-old life stuff tends to command our attention, which has caused some great albums to slip through the cracks of our review page over the years. In an attempt to combat this, We’ve got a new idea to share with you: this very post will be the first Monthly Round-Up, where we tell a little bit about all of the albums that came out in a given month that, for reasons unknown, we just never got around to write a formal review for. These are likely all going to be albums that we’ve checked out, but were focused on reviewing other albums instead. We’ll try to keep that from happening too often, but in the mean time, check out what we’ve got to show you from the month of September!
Defeater – Abandoned
Branching out from the family whose storyline became the basis for their enitre concept-centered careers, Defeater chose to write their latest effort Abandoned from the perspective of the family’s priest. This new perspective and character feels like a fresh start for the band, as they tackle the ever-present personal turmoil that comes with a religious crisis. Derek Archembault tackles the subject matter with an unprecedented ferocity, and Defeater are able to continually push themselves, creating an enthralling, captivating, and powerful record once again.
Key Track: “Atonement”
Motion City Soundtrack – Panic Stations
When you’ve created a classic album, it’s easy to rest on your laurels, do a ten-year anniversary tour on that album, then wait a few more years until you drop your next full-length. Already a few years removed from the release of Go, Motion City Soundtrack chose not to go this route, and instead released Panic Stations this month. The album defintiely sounds like a rejuvenated band, as if the Commit This To Memory Tour forced the band to reassess their sound and go back to their energetic blend of pop-punk and emo that made them such scene darlings in the early 2000s. Panic Stations is brimming with alt-rock energy, and has a bit more bite to it than the indie-leaning Go, which will be a nice jolt for fans. While the album does suffer a little from a lack of cohesion, there are still plenty of moments that show the band’s impeccable talents, and that’s more than enough to keep their already strong career going in the right direction.
Key Track: “Anything At All”
The Front Bottoms – Back on Top
Backed by iconic label Fueled By Ramen, The Front Bottoms’ bandwagon will only gain more passengers with Back on Top. It’s got a little bit of everything you’d want from one of their releases: some slow, quiet, sad songs (“Summer Shandy,” “Cough It Out”) to the perfectly catchy anthems like “West Virginia” or “Laugh Till I Cry”. The album also takes a few more risks, as Brian Sella drops his acoustic guitar and picks up an electric one for the first time on record, which gives the album much more of a rock n’ roll feel to it at times. Still, the band’s sound will always be rooted in emo, so it seems, which means we’ll always get introspective, personal tracks like “Plastic Flowers” or “HELP”, and that balance will help The Front Bottoms continue their unlikely rise through the ranks of rock music.
Key Track: “Plastic Flowers”
Better Off – Milk
Bolstered by one of the best album artworks of the year, Better Off’s new album provides proof that you can judge an album by its cover sometimes. With a striking image of a familiar food, Milk is a striking improvement from thier previous releases, but familiar enough to not mistake it for any other band in the scene right now. One of the best parts of the year is seeing which up-and-coming bands live up to the hype surrounding them, and there is no doubt that Better Off have delivered the most hype-affirming works of the year, and will go a long way in helping them grow and stick around for a long time.
Key Track: “Whatever, I Don’t Care”
Atreyu – Long Live
Coming back from hiatus after getting caught in major-label turmoil, Atreyu are sparing nothing to let you know that they’re back to the way things were before they inexplicably dropped all of their sing-scream anthems for a watered-down alt-metal sound. Their old logo emblazons all of their social media profiles, it’s been a point of emphasis in all of the interviews they’ve done leading up to the release. Most importantly, though, they’ve gone back to the sound that brought them so much success, with vocalist Alex Varkatzas utilizing his harsh, abrasive screams more than ever. It’s a sound that you’re going to either like or you won’t like it all, with very little room in between the two extremes. Chances are, your opinion on Atreyu when they were making a name for themselves in the mid-2000s will not be swayed one way or the other. Still, it’s good to see them come back from what was a swift fall from grace thanks to their handling by major labels.
Key Track: “Long Live”
The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die – Harmlessness
A few years ago Whenever, If Ever placed them at the forefront of the emo revival. This time around, Harmlessness will place TWIABP at the forefront of whatever scene listeners will place them in. Melding influences from a bunch of different genres (including emo, of course), the album really has no set sound that it fits into for too long. This could all go terribly wrong, of course, but TWIABP have crafted the album so carefully that it all comes together beautifully. There is a real sense of wonder in terms of the direction each song will flow into next, and that sense of wonder and intrigue only adds more to the album, which makes it easy to fall in love with. TWIABP are in a league of their own now.
Key Track: “Ra Patera Dance”
Hope you all enjoyed that little recap of all that September had to offer! If you missed any of the reviews we posted, there are links to all of them below:
Bring Me the Horizon – That’s the Spirit
The Wonder Years – No Closer to Heaven
With October on the way, we’re looking forward to new releases from Deafheaven, Coheed and Cambria, Pentimento, State Champs, and more! Stay tuned for reviews of those releases and more! With that being said, what was your favorite album to come out this September? What’s been on in your car the most often? Leave a comment below, or let us know on Twitter!